Commentary

Bannon Berates Media As 'Opposition Party'

President Donald J. Trump’s first week in office was marred by intense clashes with the national press over pettiness like Inauguration Day crowd size and the more serious issue of (nonexistent) voter fraud.

The contentious start to the administration’s press operation, exemplified by Sean Spicer’s angry rant to correspondents at a press briefing on Saturday, reached new heights with explosive comments from Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon, former executive chair of the alt-right news site Breitbart News.

Bannon called up New York Times reporter Michael Grynbaum to “eviscerate” the media.

In a NYT piece, Grynbaum laid out some of the combative words Bannon had for the Fourth Estate: “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for while.”

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“I want you to quote this,” Bannon continued to Grynbaum. “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.”

Bannon has held these combative views about the establishment, whether in the media or in government, for some time.

Yet the contradictions are stunning: Donald Trump craves media attention; he's a reality star obsessed with ratings. Yet he espoused an   anti-media approach throughout the campaign and now during his presidency, a tactic born of Bannon's own hatreds and obsessions.

In speaking with Grynbaum, Bannon called out some reporters as “outright activists for the Clinton campaign,” failing to acknowledge the obvious irony: He was a media executive before taking his post as chairman of the Trump campaign.

We are a mere seven days into the Trump presidency and the White House’s relationship with the press, a bulwark of democracy and open government, is shaky at best. The concerted attempt to bend the truth — "alternative facts" — and harass journalists whose job it is to cover the administration is alarming. 

Such aggressive behavior, more reminiscent of authoritarian nations, is an ominous sign for both the Trump administration and the American people — who deserve an honest and respectable leader who defends, not demeans, our freedoms.

5 comments about "Bannon Berates Media As 'Opposition Party'".
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  1. charles bachrach from BCCLTD, January 27, 2017 at 1:48 p.m.

    Bannon may be a bigger JERK than Trump if that is at all possible!!!!  He's certainly more dangerous!!!!!

  2. Steve Schiedermayer from Schiedermayer & Associates, Inc., January 27, 2017 at 1:56 p.m.

    Gallup – Sept. 14, 2016


     


     “Americans' trust and confidence in the mass media "to report the news fully, accurately and fairly" has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.”


     


    “Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.”


     


    Gallup Poll from Oct 27, 2016 – US Voters’ Perception of Media Bias in favor of Clinton or Trump. Media in favor of Trump 8%, in favor of Clinton 52%


     


    I just can’t possibly see why Bannon would say what he did

  3. Christina Ricucci from Millenia 3 Communications, January 27, 2017 at 2:03 p.m.

    Referring to the last line of your post--there are OUR freedoms and then there are the Trump & friends' freedoms. They are not the same.

    Trump made clear from the beginning the autocracy America would have under his rule, and our electoral process put him in the White House anyway. Unlike Abraham Lincoln, who chose to surround himself with statesmen of differing opinions in the belief that it would help to make his choices clearer and stronger, a person with Trump's grandiose sense of self, pathetic need for admiration, and arrogant disdain toward others' feelings makes it natural that he would be drawn to persons who can project his (Trump's) tools of power and control. Bannon seems like the perfect mouthpiece.

    Anyone who is the least bit surprised about the path unfolding before us has not been paying attention.

  4. Virginia Suhr from Lobo & Petrocine, January 27, 2017 at 2:55 p.m.

    Mr. Bannon, the Trump Administration and the Republican Party need to re-read the First Amendment which is:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    They are allowed to complain about the press, but they don't have the right defy the Amendment itself.

  5. Todd Gaak from Vanderlay, January 27, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

    How soon we forget.  Google Anita Dunn and Fox News and see what comes up.

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