Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage has said that Britain’s historic vote to Leave the European Union would not have happened without Breitbart, and warned that the next “great battle” is against Facebook Google, and the other tech giants attempting to stifle alternative voices.
The LBC presenter, former UKIP supremo, and Member of the European Parliament was speaking at a panel honoring the legacy of Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart, with managing editor Alex Marlow and reporter Charlie Kirk at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit.
Farage began by praising Breitbart as “an inspiring visionary figure, and I think my playbook is very similar to his: righteous indignation but lots of jocularity,” joked the MEP.
“Make it fun; smile; let’s be real people — and that’s exactly what Andrew Breitbart was,” he said.
“I think his legacy is astonishing. The desperately untimely death [was] appalling for his family, but I tell you what, if he’s looking down from up there he’ll be very, very proud of what he created.
“Before social media really came along, to form our opinions we had to rely on the New York Times,” he explained, prompting boos from the audience.
“I’ve got a better one for that for you — or CNN!” he added, prompting rather fiercer boos, as well as some laughter.
“Here’s the point: with social media, completely different voices that weren’t relying on, effectively, begging for crumbs from the table from mainstream media came along, and I think [Andrew Breitbart] started something,” he explained.
“The biggest accolade that I can pay, to Andrew Breitbart, is I said the day after, the 24th of June, 2016, I said Brexit could not have happened without Breitbart, and I can’t pay a higher compliment to anybody on the planet than that!”
The Brexit leader warned, however, that the “Masters of the Universe” who control Silicon Valley do not hold Andrew Breitbart’s “more voices not less” philosophy, and that they have now “launched a war against us”.
“I’m somebody that believes in free markets; I’m somebody that hates big government; I’m someone that wants to lift the weight of regulation off the shoulders of people — but we’ve got a situation here, now where these firms have a virtual monopoly on this market,” he warned.
“My passionate hope and belief is that President Donald Trump will run in 2020 on a ticket that says he’s gonna get a grip of these social media companies, make sure that there is a bill of rights for social media users, so that all arguments get a fair crack of the whip,” he concluded.
“Because if we don’t get that, we’ve got a problem.”