Back in August when Breitbart editor John Carney was triggered into a Twitter meltdown due to the appearance of the Statue of Liberty on the cover of Vogue magazine, he tweeted, "We're going to have to create a full #MAGA shadow cultural industry because the Opposition Media can't even do fashion without attacking us." Perhaps he didn't know at the time that Breitbart already employed a "fashion critic." Well, kind of. This writer spends most his time digging up stories attacking immigrants, and occasionally dashes off clothing-related musings. His fashion-centric output is so sparse, Carney couldn't be blamed for not knowing his co-worker exists.
Yet, The New York Times today gave the writer, John Binder, the full-on profile treatment complete with a portrait session. The headline: "Yes, Breitbart News Has a Fashion Critic." The reality: No. No it does not.
Binder's path towards Breitbart's brand of contrarian conservatism isn't particularly intriguing. He was put off by his supposedly too leftist professors at Southeastern Louisiana University. “The university turned me into a total right-winger,” he said. His route towards appreciating fashion was likewise mundane. He really loves the Olsen twins and Victoria Beckham. “With her perfect hair, oversize sweaters, pants and a handbag, you can’t imagine her any other way," he says of Beckham. "In that sense she is very much like Melania.”
Though, Binder's fashion coverage on the site is, at best, only an occasional part of his job. In the past few months, he's chronicled Melania Trump's fashion choices from time to time (something even otherwise progressive-leaning fashion sites have done), covered the fact veterans appeared in ads for a men's suiting line, slammed Dior via Camille Paglia quotes for taking a feminist stance, and has done a few "best and worst dressed" roundups for various awards show. The "best dressed" sections were exclusively made up of thin, white women in mostly standard red carpet garb. The "worst" was reserved for outspoken liberal entertainers and women of color. Go figure.
One of the few divergences into traditional fashion writing Binder has made was a glowing (albeit drenched in pro-American, and some anti-French sentiment) of Thom Browne's latest show at Paris Fashion Week. The Breitbart audience decidedly did not understand.
"Ugly, disgusting and totally devoid of class!" reads the top comment. "Who would wear this garbage, much less pay for it! Yikes, we are living in total madness."
Most of Binder's articles are your typical Breitbart fare that the audience eats up: imagined threats to the existence of the English language, attacks on DACA, crime committed by immigrants. In a post written Monday, Binder somehow took a study produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children, and twisted it into an attack on the children of immigrants. Like we said, typical Breitbart fare.
The New York Times, though, somehow turns the fact a Breitbart writer sometimes indulges in writing about a side passion at work into a notable story while playing into Breitbart's own mythology of taking on any sort of establishment that exists.
Never mind that Breitbart is in actuality one of the most influential outlets in the country right now with a direct line to the White House and, as Buzzfeed recently divulged, a direct line to hate groups that seek to upkeep the oppressive status quo and bash back at any sort of social progress.
So here we have an article about a "fashion critic" who isn't actually a fashion critic, that isn't particularly interesting in any other way, and only serves to feed into Breitbart own carefully constructed marketing as some sort of anti-establishment crusader squad.
Also, just for Breitbart's information, it was Yara Shahidi who was the best dressed on the VMAs red carpet this year, but you don't have to tell us why she didn't make your list.