- REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Hillary Clinton’s former press secretary said on Wednesday that the campaign had been caught off guard during the 2016 election by what he called the “Breitbart effect.”
During an appearance at Yale University, Brian Fallon spoke about the pro-Donald Trump counter-narratives that seemed to dominate the news cycle and often put the Clinton campaign on the defensive.
Fallon said the so-called Breitbart effect cultivated a “standalone ecosystem in conservative media that very aggressively and successfully promoted certain stories and narratives we had a blind spot for during the campaign.”
As the election stretched on and the Clinton campaign and its surrogates sought to capitalize on Trump’s frequent missteps, Clinton often had to address unflattering headlines about the Clinton Foundation, her corporate speeches, her health, and her record as secretary of state. That narrative included her use of a private email server, which became the subject of a yearlong FBI investigation.
The investigation, which had been closed, sent the Clinton campaign reeling in at least two pivotal points during the campaign: when FBI Director James Comey announced less than two weeks before Election Day that the bureau was looking into new emails related to the inquiry, and when he announced two days before the election that agency hadn’t changed its original conclusion.
The cumulative effect was seen by many as irreparably damaging to Clinton’s already battered second bid for the White House. The campaign later blamed Comey for Clinton’s loss to Trump.