Trump Strategist Stephen Bannon: Media Should ‘Keep Its Mouth Shut’
Posted on Jan 27, 2017
The scathing assessment — delivered by one of Mr. Trump’s most trusted and influential advisers, in the first days of his presidency — comes at a moment of high tension between the news media and the administration, with skirmishes over the size of Mr. Trump’s inaugural crowd and the president’s false claims that millions of illegal votes by undocumented immigrants swayed the popular vote against him.
Mr. Bannon, who rarely grants interviews to journalists outside of Breitbart News, the provocative right-wing website he ran until August, was echoing comments by Mr. Trump last weekend, when the president said he was in “a running war” with the media and called journalists “among the most dishonest people on earth.” Mr. Bannon’s remarks added to the growing acrimony between the press and a president who made attacks on the media a rallying point of his election campaign.
Among Mr. Trump’s advisers in the White House, Mr. Bannon is responsible for putting into action the nationalist vision that Mr. Trump channeled during the later months of the campaign, one that stemmed from Mr. Bannon himself. And in many ways Mr. Trump has acted on that vision during his first week in office — from the description of “American carnage” he laid out in his inauguration speech to a series of executive actions outlining policies on trade agreements, immigration and the building of a border wall.
Mr. Bannon is one of the strongest forces in an administration with competing power centers. A savvy manipulator of the press, and a proud provocateur, he was among the few advisers in Mr. Trump’s circle who were said to have urged Sean Spicer, the new press secretary, to give a confrontational, emotional statement to a shocked West Wing briefing room on Saturday, when the White House disputed news reports about the size of the inauguration crowd. He shares Mr. Trump’s view that the news media misunderstood the movement that the president rode into office.
Speaking by telephone on Wednesday, Mr. Bannon delivered a broad indictment of the news media as being biased against Mr. Trump and out of touch with the American public. That is an argument familiar to readers of Breitbart and followers of personalities friendly to Mr. Trump, like Sean Hannity of Fox News.
“The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said of the election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”
“The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon said. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: They were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” (He did not name specific reporters or editors.)
“That’s why you have no power,” he added. “You were humiliated.”