Shots Fired! Buzzfeed vs Breitbart

In the hours leading up to Monday night’s foreign policy debate, Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins dropped a bomb of a story about the empire that Andrew Breitbart built up in the years before his death. Coppins says that infighting and power struggles are plaguing the brand. While traffic remains competitive with other conservative websites, he says, “The portrait that emerged from multiple interviews with sources at the site and in its orbit was one of a disorganized, downtrodden army of conservative foot soldiers eager to carry out their fallen leader’s mission, but deeply divided over how to interpret his battle plan.”

It’s worth pointing out that Breitbart has been at war with Buzzfeed for quite some time. Coppins makes sure we know their messy history…

“ has described BuzzFeed as “a left-wing rag;” has turned our editor’s name into a verb, “Bensmithing,” meant to describe a sophisticated form of journalistic malpractice in which damaging facts about Democrats are reported as a means of covering them up; has repeatedly referred to this reporter as a “media-approved Mormon;” has accused us of editing a hug out of a video to protect President Obama; has accused us of conducting “partisan strategy” to protect President Obama; and has written, according to a search of their site, 396 posts attacking BuzzFeed.”

What’s more, the story fed the rumor mill that one of’s most well-known faces, Dana Loesch, is somehow not happy there and has even allegedly sought employment at The Daily Caller.

So, you can imagine that when this piece hit the internet, the Breitbart editors exploded with defensive rage. Leading the pack was Breitbart‘s John Nolte, who was singled out in the Coppins piece by a Breitbart staffer as devoting “much of his time to attacking journalists on Twitter rather than moving the ball with reporting.” Nolte tweeted the following:

If you were looking for some clarification on what #Bensmithing is, Breitbart Editor-at-large Ben Shapiro explained it.

This is about a reference in the piece that says that Breitbart’s widow, Susannah, was asking about some of the $10 million that the Breitbart website raised in capital before his death. When he died, he left a family behind, and they are more than entitled to some of the earnings of a website based on his beliefs and name. This has somehow turned into an “attack” on Breitbart’s widow in the eyes of some members of the media empire.

So, not a lot of love has been lost between these two websites, but the fire seems to have quieted down on Tuesday. No shots have been fired from Nolte or Shapiro. Of course, we’ll keep you updated if the situation worsens.

Publish date: October 23, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT