Steve Bannon Gave White Nationalism A Platform. This Should’ve Been In Every Headline
After Donald Trump’s divisive campaign, many have been calling on the President-elect to strike a more inclusive and unifying tone. Some in the media have pointed to Trump’s relatively tempered demeanor last week as a sign that President-elect Trump would behave differently than Candidate Trump. But Trump’s recent appointment of Steve Bannon as his “Chief Strategist” sends a much more divisive message than his demeanor.
Steve Bannon is a known white nationalist and anti-semite. His ex-wife swore in court that Bannon “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews…He said he doesn’t like Jews…”
He is the former Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, a site that is the self-proclaimed home of the white nationalist alt-right movement. From “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew” to “The Solution To Online ‘Harassment’ Is Simple: Women Should Log Off,” Breitbart has been known for its blatantly racist, misogynistic, and overall controversial coverage.
Ben Shapiro, who was editor-at-large of Breitbart News for four years, and worked closely with Breitbart and Bannon, stated that, “Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart openly embraced the white supremacist alt-right.”
Racist tendencies aside, his political motivations don’t appear to be very pro-democracy. Bloomberg has called Bannon the most dangerous political operative in America, and according to the Daily Beast, Bannon had the following exchange with a reporter:
“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed. Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
The danger of this appointment is obvious, but media organizations were quick to present it in the least damaging way possible.
None of the major newspapers consider Trump naming a white nationalist as chief strategist to be headline news, fyi
It wasn’t until after people expressed outrage over the headlines were some of them changed.
This afternoon, Obama held a press conference where he didn’t directly comment on the Steve Bannon appointment. His measured tone led some to speculate on how the media would interpret his comments:
The media is so motivated to normalize Trump, they will seize on any word or motion, including from President Obama, that makes him seem OK.
It didn’t take long for some media organizations to use President Obama’s comments as a method to normalize and praise Trump.
Politico literally published, “President Barack Obama normalized Donald Trump on Monday,” as the first sentence in their post-press conference piece titled “Obama on Trump: This is fine”
The President has vastly different responsibilities than people in the media. As President Obama continues to work on a peaceful transition of power, the media must not use his silence on any given story as an excuse to further normalize Donald Trump or his actions. He is not a normal candidate, and should not be covered as one.
The Steve Bannon appointment is unacceptable and so was the early media coverage of the appointment. This was yet another example of soft coverage that I’m sure will continue to occur throughout the next four years. It appears it’s not only up to the media, but the people to hold Trump accountable.