Steve Bannon, chief strategist to President Donald Trump who also served as his campaign manager for the 2016 presidential election, gave a rare interview to the New York Times in which he continued his employer’s attacks on the media and described it as the “opposition party” to the current administration.
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Bannon told the Times in an interview Wednesday.
“I want you to quote this,” Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”
With all due respect, Mr. Bannon, I’m not quite sure Donald Trump understands why he is the president of the United States. He should be embarrassed and humiliated, and he should keep his mouth shut and just listen for a while.
Trump has argued in front of cameras and on Twitter about everything from the size of his inauguration crowd to the flat-out lie that millions of illegal votes by undocumented immigrants led to him losing the popular vote in the country. The fact that he is questioning the validity of an election that he actually won speaks volumes about his knowledge and understanding of this country and how things work.
Bannon, who was a founding member of Breitbart News, usually only gives interviews to that organization, but according to the Times:
The conversation was initiated by Mr. Bannon to offer praise for Mr. Spicer who has been criticized this week for making false claims at the White House podium about attendance at Mr. Trump’s inaugural, for calling reporters dishonest and lecturing them about what stories to write, and for failing to disavow Mr. Trump’s lie about widespread voter fraud in the election.
Got it. So the “elite” or “mainstream” media (Bannon’s descriptions) get everything wrong and are not trustworthy except when the Trump administration wants to use them as a spin machine. IT TOTALLY MAKES SENSE.
“You’re the opposition party,” Bannon told the Times. “Not the Democratic Party. The media’s the opposition party.”
Journalists and others reacted to Bannon’s comments on Twitter.
“We are not the opposition,’’ Stephen Engelberg, editor-in-chief of the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, wrote in an email to the Times. “We are part of an essential function in any democracy.” He added that ProPublica had no intention of “shutting up in response to this or any other president’s demand.”
“We are here to tell the truth and we intend to continue doing so, regardless of how badly some might want us to parrot ‘alternative facts,’” Mr. Engelberg said.
The Times reports that while Bannon mostly referred to “elite” or “mainstream” media, he called the New York Times and the Washington Post out by name.
“The paper of record for our beloved republic, the New York Times, should be absolutely ashamed and humiliated,” Bannon said. “They got it 100 percent wrong.”
He added that he has been a reader of the Times for most of his adult life.
Read more at the New York Times.