Even those with more than a passing familiarity to Breitbart News might be hard pressed to name its editor. That is intentional, explains a New York Times Magazine feature on 31-year-old Alex Marlow. He has been Breitbart's editor for four years now and keeps a low profile, even among staffers. Before the Times article, for which he gave Wil S. Hylton multiple interviews, Marlow's main foray into the spotlight was an appearance on Bill Maher's show. (Video of that interview is here.) In fact, the appearance crystallizes Marlow's unusual situation, writes Hylton. Afterward, he was pilloried on the left because, during the "overtime" part of the show, a counterterrorism expert said a "fake" story about him at Breitbart led to death threats and demanded an apology. But Marlow also got pilloried on the right for telling Maher that Russia had indeed meddled in the election.
The latter admission showed that Marlow "does not get basic narratives," in the damning words of one Breitbart writer who quit and called Marlow "TRAITOR IN CHIEF." The story explores how Marlow is trying to bring more credibility to the site as he navigates critics from the left and right, and it quotes a Harvard law professor who has been conducting a linguistic study of stories. "Breitbart is not the alt-right," says Yochai Benkler. Headlines may be extreme, but the stories themselves often are surprisingly neutral. He sees Breitbart, then, as a "bridge" of sorts, "in which extremist sites linked to Breitbart for validation, and those same fanatics could then gather in Breitbart's comment section to hurl invectives," writes Hylton. Click for the full profile, in which Marlow explains that the site's admitted bias "now comes in story selection." (Read more Breitbart.com stories.)