by Ed Brodow
ClashDaily Guest Contributor
Stephen K. Bannon is an elusive figure in the Trump administration. We don’t see much of him and don’t often hear his voice, yet we know that he is the president’s leading adviser and a strong influence in shaping policy at the very top. When we do see Bannon, he is standing behind the president wearing chinos, an open-collar shirt, and a ubiquitous frown. Bannon’s enigmatic presence has given the media license to create a disparaging portrait of an important White House player, and in so doing to intensify its assault on Trump.
This is the media’s character assassination of Bannon: nasty, nihilist, warmonger, racist, anti-Semite. A recent Time Magazine cover story about Bannon, describing him as the “great manipulator,” utilizes those five pejorative labels to generate a negative impression. All of the unethical media techniques—falsehood, misrepresentation, omission, cherry picking, anonymous sourcing—are on display. To support the argument that Bannon is a nihilist, Time offers this unsubstantiated tidbit:
“A party guest recalled meeting him as a private citizen and Bannon telling him that he was like Lenin, eager to ‘bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.’”
In a typical case of vague source attribution, we are not told who said it or when they said it. No witnesses are cited in support of the unsubstantiated allegation. How easy it must be for a lazy reporter to invent trash like this. Unfortunately, many gullible readers will go along simply because it appears in print.
To prove that Bannon is a warmonger, Time says, “Bannon noted repeatedly on his radio show that ‘we’re at war’ with radical jihadis in places around the world.” His accurate observation about Islamic terrorism does not provide an iota of evidence that Bannon is a belligerent saber-rattler. To prove that he is a racist, Time alleges that when Bannon took over Breitbart, he offered a home to “those determined to elevate the abhorrent ideals of white nationalism.” Who exactly are “those?” We are not given that information. How convenient.
What we are given is more hearsay that Bannon is nasty and evil. “‘He is legitimately one of the worst people I’ve ever dealt with,’ former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro told TIME last year. The sentiment was echoed by conservative commentator Dana Loesch, a former Breitbart employee. ‘One of the worst people on God’s green earth,’ she said.” So-and-so thinks Bannon is a son-of-a-bitch. So what! It brings to mind Winston Churchill’s famous quip: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Time completes its yellow journalistic onslaught by accusing Bannon of anti-Semitism:
“Bannon was charged with domestic violence after a dispute with his ex-wife in 1996, though she declined to testify against him and the case was dropped. She later claimed in legal papers that Bannon had objected to a private school for their daughters because there were a lot of Jewish students attending and he didn’t like the way they are raised to be ‘whiney brats.’ Bannon denied those claims.”
Again we have an unsubstantiated allegation that Time admits was denied by Bannon. Wives are inclined to say unpleasant things in divorce proceedings. So are rabid Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, who has referred to Bannon as a “white supremacist”—also unsubstantiated.
“The attacks on Steve Bannon are straight out of the Left’s bible of ‘community organizing,’ Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals,” says former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams.
“Alinsky advocated ‘personalizing’ disputes and ‘destroying’ the targets. Truth didn’t matter. That’s why you are hearing nasty—and false—branding of Bannon as a racist or anti-Semite. I challenge anyone,” says Adams, “to find one thing Bannon has said that is racist or anti-Semitic.”
“The media attacks on Steve Bannon are, at the root, attacks on President Donald Trump,” said former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. “This is what the press sometimes does,” Rove added, “and particularly when the Democrats announce that that’s their strategy. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is an effort to diminish the president.”
Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia wrote an article in The Hill entitled, “Attacks on Steve Bannon prove the Left failed to learn election’s lesson.” Referring to the Clinton campaign’s attempt to smear Trump as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” Goode said, “The Left is repeating the same attacks they used on Trump on Steve Bannon—even using the same Southern Poverty Law Center quotes and Breitbart Headlines that Clinton tried to scare off voters with in August.” They didn’t work against Trump and they won’t work against Bannon.
As the Left’s mouthpiece, the mainstream media is marching in lockstep to the Steve Bannon Witch Hunt. What can be done? Get out the amulets, hocus pocus, and Harry Potter. Better yet, turn Trump loose on the media. This is one president who can invoke the right spells to defeat witchcraft.
Ed Brodow is a negotiation expert, political commentator, and author of In Lies We Trust: How Politicians and the Media Are Deceiving the American Public.
Copyright © 2017 Ed Brodow. All rights reserved.