Andrew Breitbart has become an iconic and beloved figure on the right, so it’s hard to imagine his eponymous empire could be in danger of losing conservative support just one year after his passing. But if recent events are a harbinger of things to come, that’s at least a possibility.
It all started last October, when BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins penned a controversial piece, arguing the outlet was “plagued by an unusual degree of disorganization and rampant infighting…”
The report might have been easily dismissed, had it not been soon revealed that Breitbart.com’s Dana Loesch was suing Breitbart.com LLC for $75k in a dispute over her contract.
Around that same time, Breitbart.com began poaching (and attempting to poach) writers from other center-right outlets, including TheDC — a move not likely to engender goodwill from friendly competitors.
A couple months later, Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro drew controversy over the “Friends of Hamas” brouhaha, prompting the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso to write: “The crew at Breitbart has never accepted such behavior from liberal mainstream journalists in the past, nor should they in the future.”
To be sure, center-right media outlets frequently come under attack from the mainstream media — and sometimes even from each other — but the amount of “friendly fire” directed at Breitbart.com lately seems unusual and noteworthy. And it has only accelerated in recent weeks.
And much of the infighting seems to boil down to a Breitbart.com vs. RedState.com schism. This is no small thing, since RedState is arguably the most influential conservative “blog” in the nation.
Loesch (apparently released from her Breitbart.com contract) landed at RedState — and just last week, Breitbart’s John Nolte engaged in a feud with RedState’s Ben Howe over a column the latter penned at BuzzFeed (which was critical of film trailer produced by Tea Party Patriots).
Most recently, RedState’s Erick Erickson sided with the RNC over a Breitbart reporter.
Here’s the back story: In the last five days, Breitbart’s Michael Patrick Leahy has written no less than five stories about comments made by the RNC’s chief of staff Mike Shields — alleging that he referred to conservatives as, “the professional right.”
To give you an idea of the tone, Leahy titled his first story, “RNC Declares War on Conservatives.”
But some conservatives are quietly disputing Leahy’s reporting. A “bunch of people who attended the meeting are defending Mike Shields,” wrote Erickson. “They tell me he was mischaracterized.”
“I agree with Mike Shields and I’m glad he said it,” Erickson added.
Here’s the thing: When RedState’s Erick Erickson sides with the RNC over Breitbart, you know something’s up.