Why Breitbart hasn't gone to war for Sessions

Story highlights

  • Kurt Bardella: Jeff Sessions was once Breitbart's hero, but now they won't go to war to defend him
  • Breitbart instead blames "fake news media," who they claim fuel the Trump-Sessions infighting, says Bardella

@KurtBardella is the publisher of MorningHangover.com and has served as the spokesperson for Breitbart News, the Daily Caller, then House Oversight and Government Reform Committee & Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-California). The views expressed in this commentary are solely his.

(CNN)For years, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been cast by Breitbart News (and one of its most visible writers, Matt Boyle) as a conservative hero.

When then-Sen. Sessions attacked Jeb Bush at CPAC in 2015, Breitbart and Boyle framed it as a "battle for the soul of the GOP."
Kurt Bardella
When Sessions endorsed Donald Trump in February 2016, Breitbart and Boyle wrote that Sessions was "the intellectual leader of the future of the conservative movement."
    At the time, Breitbart and Boyle reported, "Sessions is the most highly sought-after endorsement because of his respect party-wide" and that previous endorsements Donald Trump had received "pale in comparison."
    You would think that given all that Jeff Sessions has meant to Breitbart and Boyle, they would be on the front line of the effort to disembowel anyone who would attack their hero the way that Donald Trump has recently, on Twitter and in the press.
    Lately, some conservative media figures, such as Matt Drudge, have reportedly been irritated by Donald Trump's behavior and ineffectiveness. And while Matt Boyle did publish a story on Tuesday with a headline describing Sessions as "A Man Who Embodies the Movement that Elected Donald Trump President," that same story framed the "tension" between Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions as the result of "constant griping from the opposition party media pushing for that next soundbite" for Sessions to resign and "keep the story alive."
    I must have missed the breaking news that the "opposition party media" had successfully hijacked President Trump's Twitter account and posted all kinds of disparaging comments about his own attorney general.
    A lot of attention in media circles was given to another Breitbart story that appeared earlier on Tuesday with the headline "Trump's attack on Sessions over Clinton Prosecution Highlights His Own 'Weak' Stance."
    Media reporters have speculated on whether this meant there was a Breitbart vs. Trump war brewing.
    I'm not going to pretend to tell you what is really in the hearts and minds of those who work at Breitbart.
    But I will tell you, based on my own firsthand experience working with Breitbart for three years, what full-tilt combat with Breitbart looks like. It doesn't look like this.
    Substitute Donald Trump with any other political figure, and I guarantee you these relentless, one-sided attacks against Sessions would be met with all-out open warfare, not warnings that "Sessions could endanger the administration and the split the critical coalition that helped Trump to the presidency."
    It would be open warfare conducted with the same velocity and enthusiasm I saw firsthand when they made Eric Cantor and John Boehner the focal point of their universe...and we all know how those stories ended.
    Boyle or another reporter would be calling every Republican in public office, demanding them to condemn the attacks against Sessions. Those who comply would be rewarded with a banner headline, like: "Congressman X Condemns Cowardly Attacks Against Conservative Hero Jeff Sessions."
    Next, Boyle or a colleague would ask Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to condemn the President's statements against Sessions. If they didn't, the headlines would read "Speaker Ryan/Leader McConnell Refuse to Condemn Attacks Against Sessions -- Conservatives Plot Coup."
    All the while, conservative commentators like Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham would be given a platform at Breitbart to sound off on Sessions' attacker.
    For every quote, comment, soundbite on cable TV or radio about Donald Trump's bullying of Jeff Sessions, there would be an accompanying story on the pages of Breitbart.
    Dozens and dozens of stories would appear every day, until they accumulated to a critical mass where the man who had attacked their beloved hero would have to either apologize or be met with an even bigger Breitbart-Boyle campaign to get them to resign or lose their next election.
    But take a close look at the pages of Breitbart right now and you'll see that's not happening, not even close.
    The "honey badgers" have left the building, replaced by an establishment mentality to protect their proximity to power at all costs. They are instead towing the company line -- placing blame at the feet of the "fake news media.
    They are now the establishment.
    They are now the administrative state.
    They are predictable.
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    After all, as Boyle just wrote, there really isn't a Trump vs. Sessions fight, it's just "tension" fueled by an "opposition party --the fake news media -- [who] loves the Trump versus Sessions infighting" and who "are stoking the flames with the hopes of crushing the movement Trump and Sessions built together."
    That's one way of putting it. It might be more accurate to say that the one-sided Trump-Sessions fight is the clearest illustration yet of how Breitbart has become that which they have spent their entire existence attacking.