Breitbart, facing headwinds, tries a new tack: Live events


Breitbart News is taking a step into the live events business. 

Following the lead of other media companies seeking fresh sources of revenue, the right-wing news and opinion site is set to host its first-ever town hall in suburban New Orleans next month, a panel on privacy and technology with commentator Ann Coulter and Peter Schweizer, the author of “Clinton Cash.” 

It’s an experiment for a site that has lately been confronting declining web traffic and turbulence in its top ranks. Stephen K. Bannon, the site’s longtime executive chairman, was forced out in January. Its page views last month were down by nearly half from a year earlier, according to the data-tracking firm comScore, though Breitbart disputes the figure. 

The Louisiana event is “the latest evolution in how to consume Breitbart content,” said Alexander Marlow, the site’s editor-in-chief. 

By branching into public forums, the site is taking a cue from one of its perennial foes: the mainstream media. News outlets like Vanity Fair, The Washington Post and The New York Times have long sponsored conferences and speaking events. 

The Breitbart event is to be held on April 5 at Andrea’s, an Italian restaurant in Metairie, Louisiana. The topic — the gatekeeping power of Facebook and other online platforms — coincides with a broader conservative offensive against Big Tech. Breitbart is one of several right-wing sites that have accused Facebook, Google and Twitter of suppressing right-wing voices, claims that the tech companies have denied. 

The panel will be live-streamed — on Facebook. 

Marlow, who will serve as moderator, said that tickets to the event would be free and that costs would be partly covered by Free Our Internet, a group that bills itself as “fighting the tech-left’s takeover of the internet.” 

Schweizer, who collaborated with Bannon on his investigations into Hillary Clinton, is finishing a documentary about the role of tech companies in filtering the news. Another scheduled guest, Robert Epstein, a former editor of Psychology Today, is expected to be featured in Schweizer’s film. 

Breitbart was a champion of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which Bannon eventually joined. The site has been denounced as misogynist, racist and xenophobic, and its writers routinely flog the establishment media: Last year, its reporters worked to undercut reporting by The Washington Post about misconduct by Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama. 

Bannon’s ouster, from the White House and then from Breitbart, cut into the site’s cachet. But Breitbart is still among the top-ranked sites on Facebook, and several of its journalists were treated as celebrities at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference. 

Facebook’s handling of its users’ data has come under scrutiny in part because of a scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a company that worked on the Trump campaign and was co-founded by Bannon. Facebook has banned the company from its platform, saying it misused personal data from Facebook that was provided to it. 

Marlow said he knew little about Bannon’s role in the company, though he defended Cambridge Analytica as engaging in the same kind of data-driven electioneering that left-leaning groups have done in the past.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Bedbugs infest offices at South Carolina courthouse; exterminators brought in
Bedbugs infest offices at South Carolina courthouse; exterminators brought in

Bedbugs were found inside a South Carolina courthouse last week, but officials say exterminators eradicated the problem . >> Read more trending news  York County Clerk of Court David Hamilton said the bedbugs were found in private offices and not in public areas at the Moss Justice Center in York. Solicitor Kevin Brackett told The Herald...
Former Panther Rae Carruth just hours away from walking out of prison 
Former Panther Rae Carruth just hours away from walking out of prison 

Former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth is scheduled to walk out of prison a free man Monday after nearly 19 years behind bars. >> Read more trending news  He is expected to be released from Sampson Correctional Facility in Clinton, North Carolina sometime after 8 a.m. It is unclear whether Carruth will return to Charlotte. He has three...
Snow falls on Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain
Snow falls on Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain

A dusting of snow covered the top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, over the weekend after a rare October snowfall. >> Read more trending news  The snow was due to unstable weather near the Big Island, according to Hawaii News Now. A ranger message said the icy road conditions have closed down the road to the summit. Mauna Kea...
Man arrested for flashing two women, one of whom fell and hit her head
Man arrested for flashing two women, one of whom fell and hit her head

A Florida man was jailed for allegedly exposing himself to two women, one of whom was so startled she fell and hit her head, police said. >> Read more trending news  Michael David Fournelle, 32, is accused of exposing himself to the women on Aug. 31 in Orlando. In both instances, the victims said he pulled up in a car, called them over and...
Photographer asks for help to find couple in proposal picture
Photographer asks for help to find couple in proposal picture

A Michigan photographer is trying to find a couple who got engaged in a picture he took while on a vacation at Yosemite National Park.  >> Read more trending news  Matthew Dippel was on a road trip with his friends when they went to Taft Point Oct. 6 at sunset, WOOD reported.  "I looked at my camera right after to make...
More Stories