The sale was made, but as has been frequently the case with Trump, the buyers have started to suspect they may have been played for fools.

(Excerpted from NEWSWEEK) Breitbart (and, really, the entire right-wing media establishment) is now faced with a bungling chief executive who has embraced NATO and Goldman Sachs, largely ditched his plan for a border wall with Mexico and, during a speech in Saudi Arabia, didn’t utter the words that have been the touchstone of Republican foreign policy: radical Islamic terrorism.

like Trump himself, Breitbart News may have expended too much energy on gloating. Breitbart has fallen to 63rd in Alexa’s rankings (its ranking was actually much lower, in the 270s, but after Vanity Fair published that figure, Breitbart complained to Alexa and had its ranking somehow recalibrated). SimilarWeb, a company that uses Google Analytics to analyze web browsing patterns, found that Breitbart had 128 million total visits in November, but that the number has since dropped to 78 million total visits in April. That is still an amazing feat, one that places Breitbart well above most other news organizations. Yet some in the media wonder whether the high watermark of the site’s relevance was the election in November.

“They are an outlet that has a very, very large stake in the success of President Trump,” explains Ben Shapiro, who left Breitbart during the presidential campaign, after Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski roughly grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. After the incident, Breitbart sided with the Trump campaign over its reporter’s easily verifiable claims. Shapiro, founder of The Daily Wire and host of a popular right-leaning podcast, says that under Bannon, Breitbart had become “Trump’s personal Pravda.”

“Any attempts to separate themselves from Trump will result in an immediate collapse of their traffic,” warns Shapiro, “and will not result in any additional mainstream credibility.”

That credibility won’t be easy to come by, especially from a Washington press corps predisposed to sneer at Breitbart as an unsophisticated arriviste, one that has consistently put click-getting ahead of truth-telling. In March, the Standing Committee of Correspondents denied Breitbart a congressional press pass. Hadas Gold, a media reporter for Politico, explained at the timethat committee members had questions about Breitbart’s monetary ties to right-wing activists Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, which the site has generally downplayed. The committee seemed to also frown on the fact that Breitbart’s newsroom was a Capitol Hill townhouse, known as “the Breitbart Embassy.”

At the same time, Breitbart’s much-touted plans to expand into Europe, proof of its newfound relevance, seem to have been more talk than anything else. In February, Politico reported that “difficulties in recruiting journalists, questions about which language to use and a desire to make a high impact on launch have all slowed down efforts to establish French and German editions.” In the course of my reporting, I also heard that domestic bureaus weren’t nearly as well staffed as Breitbart wanted readers to believe.

The site’s gravest problem may be the wholesale flight of advertisers, who have been pressured by anti-Trump forces to disassociate themselves from any outlet friendly to his administration. “Breitbart ads plummet nearly 90 percent in three months as Trump’s troubles mount,” read the headline of a Digiday story by Lucia Moses that detailed the site’s deepening financial woes.

The campaign against Breitbart is being led by a group that identifies itself on Twitter as Sleeping Giants. At the time of this writing, its online spreadsheet of advertisers that no longer buy ads on Breitbart includes 2,178 entries, from German flagship airline Lufthansa to Zeus, a beard grooming company. A visit to the Sleeping Giants feed finds a tweet at the founder of tech company Taboola, which apparently advertises with Breitbart: “Do you love money more than tolerance?”

Perhaps no man has a more complex relationship with Breitbart than Lee Stranahan, one of the most polarizing and unusual figures of the alt-right, which brims with unusual and polarizing figures.

These days, Stranahan hosts a radio show for the Sputnik news agency, the Kremlin-funded outlet that has been friendly to Trump.

Breitbart can’t pivot away from right-wing click-bait to sober, deeply reported news any more than Trump can pivot away from paranoid tweets, self-pitying broadsides against the media and weekends at Mar-a-Lago. Trump, at least, has daughter Ivanka to keep him in check, or so they say. With Bannon gone, it’s hard to see anyone at the Breitbart Embassy overseeing the kind of radical editorial overhaul that would make Breitbart more like the Journal and less like World Net Daily.