The top standard-bearers at Drudge and Breitbart are at each other’s throats. It was an ideological divorce that few would have predicted, yet, it’s happening, and, by the time it’s over, the modern conservative movement, especially conservative media consumers, may not know hit them.
How It All Started
To understand the gravity of what is currently happening at the two top right-wing partisan websites on the planet, first, you need to understand how closely the two have been connected. Andrew Breitbart founded his celebrated and denigrated, but undeniably successful site, after learning the business from his mentor, Matt Drudge. For years thereafter, to the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election, the two sites all but mirrored each other in content and philosophy.
Drudge liked Candidate Trump, but he certainly had no love for Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, who was one of Trump’s new advisors. While Bannon had the President’s ear, Drudge was closely aligned with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law. While Drudge was often mildly critical of Bannon, the two sides stayed mostly civil, allowing their crossover fan support, which is legion, to coexist in harmony.
Enter Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and a growing number of sexual misconduct allegations. Breitbart, and specifically Bannon, has been tirelessly in support of Moore, but the candidate has effectively split the GOP, with top elected officials telling him to get out of the race and fans of Breitbart and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh continuing to defend Moore.
Recently, Drudge took the kid gloves off, linking to a story in which Bannon was quoted as having “second thoughts” about supporting Moore, even after the allegations were announced. The headline on the linked article: “A lesson on leaving politics to the professionals…”
The missive was immediately shared by nearly every major media outlet with a Twitter account. When challenged, Bannon eventually landed on Moore’s side, directly opposite Drudge, as well as many high-profile GOP elected officials. Now, conservative media consumers are being asked, by nearly everyone, to pick a side.
The ersatz ultimatum may end up being as much a mirror as it is a lever. For months now, many have been saying that the GOP base, those defined in many ways by their allegiance to GOP-flavored media, are at loggerheads with the GOP establishment, which is defined, mostly, as GOP elected officials and big-name donors.
The two groups sparred during the election but eventually came together to get Donald Trump elected. After that, though, they returned to their respective corners. This situation seems to have brought two standard-bearers out swinging. That’s left many wondering if the fight will continue, forcing fans to pick a side.