Breitbart, an American-based online news site, isn’t shy about their ability to influence its readers to embrace right-wing agendas and political candidates. In fact they want it to be known. One of the site’s crown achievements was helping to get president-elect Donald Trump into the oval office, and the appointment of Breitbart’s former CEO Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief strategy adviser, only highlights this influence. Now, with an expected launch of a localized German edition of Breitbart ahead of the country’s own elections in 2017, German advertisers are trying to distance themselves from the site by voting with their money.
hoping to distance themselves from the extremist views
Citing concerns over the content posted on Breitbart, some of Germany’s largest companies have announced that they will be pulling their ad campaigns off of the site, hoping to distance themselves from the extremist views. This follows an already growing social media campaign spreading in Germany that is pushing against sites like Breitbart by using the hashtag #KeinGeldFuerRechts (No Money for the Right).
Deutsche Telekom announced on Wednesday that it “absolutely doesn’t tolerate discriminatory actions or statements,” and it will be blacklisting Breitbart’s news sites from all future ad campaigns.
BMW, mobile operator of O2, supermarket group REWE and restaurant chain Vapiano, who said the site is not compatible with their values of “openness and tolerance”, announced similar decisions to stop all ad spending on Breitbart.
While advertisers are hoping to avoid any connection to the news site’s political leanings or agendas, Germany’s far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party members see the growth of a localized Breitbart as a major win for their party. AfD’s Heidelberg branch took to Twitter to declare their approval, tweeting: “Breitbart is coming to Germany. Fantastic! That’ll cause an earthquake in our stale media landscape.”
Despite Germany’s strict journalistic standards, and the Presserat, an ethics board that publicly scolds media outlets that do not follow those agreed standards, it is not expected to affect Breitbart once it launches in the country. These standards are only applied to outlets that pledge that they will abide by the code and also consider themselves journalistic publications. Breitbart will most likely enter the market as an interest-led news organization, exempting themselves from the code laid out by the Presserat.