Prominent conservative news outlet Breitbart was recently blindsided by a series of false statements after a recruitment ad for the LAPD running on their site caused an uproar… leading the department to bow down to political pressures and throw every day officers under the bus.
Now, Breitbart has been blacklisted from doing business with the department. And the chief is refusing to talk openly about it, even after he insulted police officers across the country.
The issue began to blossom when someone took offense that an LAPD recruitment banner advertisement was being featured on Breitbart’s site.
“Uhhhh why is the LAPD running recruitment ads on Breitbart?!” Daily Beast editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman tweeted.
Uhhhh why is the LAPD running recruitment ads on Breitbart?! pic.twitter.com/9gr1hnmy4o
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) September 28, 2019
Schactman reportedly has a history of saying egregious things about conservatives, going so far as to compare them to ISIS extremists.
ISIS and the worst American conservatives hate the same people. https://t.co/CaoE8q47Jk
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) April 14, 2016
But it was the immediate response from the LAPD’s Twitter account that has members of the news outlet outraged for being smeared, with their message inferring that the LAPD’s values don’t align with those of the staff of Breitbart, and that an association between the two created negativity.
The LAPD celebrates diversity and embraces it within our ranks, and within the city we serve. We are aware that a recruitment advertisement has been circulated on a website that creates a negative juxtaposition to our core values.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) September 28, 2019
Right after that, the department followed up with an additional post, declaring that they were going to find out who was responsible for allowing the ads to be run on the site.
We take matters like this very seriously, and have begun an initial inquiry into the matter and to determine its validity, as well as what future steps can and will be taken to avoid this situation occurring in the future.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) September 28, 2019
And all of this happened without anyone asking Breitbart to weigh in.
We spoke with Alex Marlow, the editor-in-chief at Breitbart.
“I think this is unbelievably frightening, because Breitbart is, of course, an incredibly diverse [and] large outlet that has people from every single background out there,” Marlow said. “This is a war on conservatism, and now conservatives are apparently banned from LAPD.”
Breitbart reached out to the LAPD through multiple channels immediately upon seeing the series of tweets, requesting to speak with top police officials, according to a source close to the matter.
But no one from the LAPD acknowledged those repeated requests over the course of several days.
When an LAPD spokesperson finally spoke with Breitbart, he would not go on the record and could not satisfactorily answer any of their questions.
Regarding communications with the LAPD, Marlow remarked, “We were able to speak only off-record, and of course we asked them — and I can’t divulge too much, because I want to be an honorable journalist — but let’s put it this way, they did not have great answers when we asked them, ‘What is it in our core values that do not match up with the LAPD?’ We’re overwhelmingly pro-law enforcement. We have a hugely diverse staff, just top to bottom… It’s laughable to suggest we’re anything other than a diverse coalition of millions of Americans, and they won’t give us an example. They wouldn’t give us a single example of what we do that’s against their core values.”
To make matters worse, Chief Michel Moore took to his personal Twitter page to say that there was an investigation into whether the ad was made as a spoof in order to “discredit LAPD”.
Chief Moore apparently didn’t feel the need to explain how a mock ad would tarnish their reputation, but his comments directly attacked a large group of rank and file officers that are avid Breitbart readers.
The site routinely publishes about news stories that the mainstream media avoids, largely due to the fact that those stories don’t usually fit their narrative. And cops across the nation shouldn’t be shamed or told their values don’t ‘align’ simply because they read it.
Moore tried to avert the issue away from the LAPD, saying the personnel department placed the ad, but a tweet from that department said it “has not made any purchase of LAPD recruitment ads on Breitbart or similar sites.”
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That mixup seemed to be cleared when personnel department spokesman Bruce Whidden told the LA Times that the ad ended up on Breitbart as part of a buy made through Google on Sept. 10 using the department’s marketing money.
But Breitbart still hasn’t been given answers as to why they’re the center of the unprecedented attack, and why they’ve been blacklisted from doing business with the LAPD.
When they couldn’t get a reasonable response from the LAPD for their readers, the company decided to create a petition to allow readers themselves to tell the LAPD what they think about discrimination against conservatives.
“The purpose of the petition is to let top brass at the LAPD know that discrimination against conservatives is wrong, just as any other form of discrimination is wrong,” said Breitbart spokesperson Elizabeth Moore. ” We created the petition to help give our readers a voice on this issue.”
When you sign the petition, LAPD will not see your email address…only your first name, last initial, city and state will appear. This is to protect people, especially those within law enforcement, who want to participate but fear backlash if identified as petition signers.
Why is Breitbart being targeted? Marlow has a theory.
“I think it’s utter fear, because the reason we have a conservative movement in America is because people don’t listen to the alphabet network,” Marlow said. “They don’t get their news from the New York Times or CNN. They can get their news from talk radio, and now they can get their news from a network of online outlets and some streaming outlets….But this is a new thing that will stop the left in their tracks — and has time and time again. That’s what this is about.”
Breitbart has submitted public records requests to the LAPD and the city’s personnel department over the investigation into the ads and reactions to them.
California allows them ten days to respond to requests.
Marlow says this is just the beginning.
“This is about stamping out conservative voices… I see this not just as an attack on Breitbart and our audience…[next]…It’ll be whatever it is, your favorite online website that provides news that’s not CNN-approved. They’re coming for you next. We’re just the tip of the spear.”
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