What's happening to Breitbart?
The N.Y. Times has a story claiming that Breitbart's traffic is down 50% and its advertising base is down nearly 90%.
The site's visitor traffic has fallen 53 percent since November, from 22.96 million unique individuals to 10.76 million last month, according to ComScore, which tracks Web trends. Other news sites have seen a falloff since the election, too – The Washington Post and the New York Times are off 24 and 26 percent during this period, respectively – but Breitbart's losses are at roughly twice the mainstream rate.
At the same time, an advertiser blacklist of Breitbart organized by an anonymous online group called Sleeping Giants appears to be biting hard. Only 26 companies had ads on Breitbart last month, down from 242 in March, according to the marketing-news site Digiday. It said the remaining advertisers were primarily smaller direct-response companies, although Amazon.com remains one of its sponsors, despite pressure from its employees to cut ties to the site[.]
Breitbart, for its part, denies that traffic is down:
It said its traffic has increased 59 percent on a year-to-year basis and that it ranks No. 60 among U.S.-based websites, according to the Alexa web-tracking firm.
So what's going on with Breitbart? Some possibilities:
1) It's all fake news. Breitbart is doing fine.
2) Breitbart has lost audience because people are souring on Trump, and Breitbart is strongly identified with him.
3) Breitbart has lost audience because Breitbart is souring on Trump, reporting on the lack of a border wall paid for by Mexico and the continuing influx of foreign refugees.
4) Breitbart lost traffic when Milo left, taking a certain constituency with certain proclivities with him.
5) Breitbart has lost traffic because it is no longer challenging P.C. assumptions:
The traffic and advertiser losses may be compelling a move toward a kinder, gentler Breitbart, says Will Sommer, who tracks conservative media in his newsletter Right Richter.
Faced with an advertiser boycott and plummeting readership, Breitbart News has lately been trimming back some of its more extreme elements in what may be a bid for more mainstream respectability.
Gone: Prominently displayed stories appealing to overt racial prejudice, such as reports and essays about crimes committed by African Americans. Articles such as "Five Devastating Facts About Black-on-Black Crime" and "Black-on-Black Crime: Blame it on the System and Ignore the Evidence" have all but disappeared from the site.
Breitbart also recently fired reporter Katie McHugh for stating that if not for Muslims in the U.K., there would be no terrorist attacks there. Her statement, while blunt, is certainly quite true.
Which of the above do you think is most correct? Let us know in the comments section!
Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.