Alt-right website Breitbart is experiencing a decline in internet traffic and political influence after former CEO Steve Bannon was ousted, Politico reported Saturday.
In January, Bannon stepped down as executive chairman of Breitbart after an uproar over referring to Donald Trump, Jr. as “treasonous” and claiming the president’s son will crack “like an egg” over a Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives.
“Just looked at the comments section on Breitbart. Wow. When Bannon has lost Breitbart, he’s left with . . . umm, nothing,” Trump, Jr. tweeted in January.
The same may have been true for Breitbart losing Bannon.
“Since the ouster of former executive chairman Steve Bannon in January, the site has been forced to search for a new identity, and, like other ideological publishers, has been pinched by changes to Facebook’s algorithms in January,” Politico reported. “Its current slide began in November, though, three months after Bannon was forced out of his top advisor role in the White House, but two months before he left Breitbart.”
The website tracking company comScore estimated May was the seventh straight month of declining traffic, with barely half of the numbers from a year ago.
According to comScore, Breitbart had 6.4 million unique visitors in May, compared to 12.1 million in May 2017.
Web traffic monitor Alexa has shown a traffic decline since January.
Politico noted, “critics were quick to cite the readership figures as signs of an overall decline in influence.”
“With its falling traffic numbers, but lingering grassroots support, Breitbart seems to be transforming from a site that had designs on conquering American politics to one that is increasingly focused on maintaining its conservative base,” Politico observed.
Conservative commentator Matt Lewis, arguing the establishment perspective on the Alt-right website, suggested the website required a leader like Bannon.
“I never hear about them, anymore,” Lewis noted. “Nor do I have a sense that they drive the debate or the discussion—or that anyone is worried about them writing something negative about them.”
“Nationalism and populism always requires a charismatic leader,” he said. “The ideas are not persuasive enough to work without a cult of personality.”
Fox News also suffered a decline in ratings following the ousters of CEO Roger Ailes and on-air personality Bill O’Reilly.