The picture that has stuck in the minds of many this week shows two male, grinning politicians stood in a gold lift, two men who claimed they had stuck it to the establishment and “kicked back against the liberal elite” through one’s election as President and the other’s Brexit victory. It is a jarring image and one that demonstrates how the political landscape across Europe and America changed so dramatically in 2016.
The people who will continue to shape this landscape are now being announced as Donald Trump begins the process of selecting the team to assist him in achieving his vision of the US.
One of Mr Trump’s first hires is Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, as “chief strategist and senior counsellor”. Mr Trump praised Bannon, 62, as a “highly qualified leader” and someone who worked well on his presidential campaign. The former Goldman Sachs banker will now work closely with Mr Trump as he begins his tenure as President.
Bannon, who does not write for Breitbart, declared the site "the platform for the alt-right” after taking it over four years ago and transforming the agenda from ultra-conservatism to anti-establishment, nationalist and unashamedly pro-Trump during the election.
The alt-right political movement has been accused of racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny and of sharing an ideology with far-right parties such as the French National Front. Bannon has already expressed admiration for the French family steering the party, telling French news network LCI: “We think that France is a place where we need to be, with its young entrepreneurs and the women of the Le Pen family.”
The support for Mr Trump led some to brand it ‘Trumpbart’, a direction that came despite its late founder Andrew Breitbart being a vocal critic of the new President-elect. Interestingly, Mr Breitbart also predicted Mr Trump’s rise in 2011: “If these guys [Republicans] don't learn how to play the media ... we're going to probably get a celebrity candidate”.
Headlines to emerge from the site have spoken to the sexism, racism, religious discrimination and xenophobia which exploded during such a polarising US election.
Breitbart is now the most widely-read conservative site in America and it is also the site Mr Trump cited regularly throughout his campaign. The relationship between Breitbart and Mr Trump was mutually beneficial; Mr Trump gave repeated interviews to the site in the run-up to the election, driving up its traffic to a 124 per cent spike in 2016. At the same time, he had a platform which would rush to his defence when the next controversy arose.
With Bannon at the helm, content on the site has become increasingly contentious. Feminists and Muslims are routinely attacked. Women speaking out on issues such as harassment have been criticised, including in a piece by comment and tech writer Milo Yiannopoulos, now permanently banned from Twitter, which declared: “The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off.”
“Women are — and you won’t hear this anywhere else — screwing up the internet for men by invading every space we have online and ruining it with attention-seeking and a needy, demanding, touchy-feely form of modern feminism that quickly comes into conflict with men’s natural tendency to be boisterous, confrontational and delightfully autistic.“
His piece adds: “Feminism never brings men and women together in equality. it drives the sexes apart through acrimony, constant suspicion and antagonism like 'teach men not to rape' and illogical generalities and conspiracy theories like the 'patriarchy'.”
Other headlines include "Does feminism make women ugly?" and "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy," another piece by Yiannopoulos, this time discouraging the use of contraceptives.
“God-fearing nutcases like me have long argued that birth control, like abortion (or “the murder of children,” if you prefer), is the work of the Devil,” he writes. “Like all things discouraged by the Bible, it leads only to misery and suffering — for young men as well as women.
“Tossing out birth control isn’t just kinder to women, it may be the only way to save civilisation. Sorry, no offence, but it’s true. And hey! It’s what God wants, too.”
"Trannies whine about hilarious Bruce Jenner" deliberately misgendered Caitlyn Jenner after her transition. The article criticised the reaction to a billboard joking about the former Olympic athlete undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
The way in which articles on the site have distorted Islam has proved particularly controversial. In one, "Political correctness protects Muslim rape culture", the website blamed an apparent increase in reports of sexual assault in Europe on Muslims. “An epidemic of rape cases across Europe has police in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany and other nations worried,” it began. “But you won’t hear much about it in the US mainstream media because the epidemic is a byproduct of the influx into Europe of a million, mostly Muslim, migrants.”Reuse content