By Jason Newell:
Steve Bannon has made headlines across the World, both good and bad, as the Counselor to newly elected President. But this meteoric rise stems from heading Breitbart News – a news organization that is often labeled as the primary news outlet for the alt-right. The alt-right itself being defined as an alternative, extreme, right-centric association of news groups that provides a supposed fact based news medium. However, right-centric news organizations, akin to Breitbart, are seeped in propaganda laden objectives. One such objective was ensuring the election of Donald Trump despite reservations from those within the organization who perceived outed the apparent favoritism.
As for Bannon himself, he has an impressive collegiate background and served in the US Navy – his deep resume also includes associations with Goldman Sachs. But what led to this ostensibly well-reasoned man, from an academic standpoint, down the path of leading arguably the most contentious presidential administration in American history? This is quite a complex question to answer, but was in-part due with a general skepticism of career politicians and the elitist takeover of Washington D.C. Furthermore, Bannon delved into Hollywood filmmaking, producing fiction films and documentaries on politicians like Sarah Palin.
According to “The Daily Banter,” Bannon has been quite influential in the Trump Administration:
“They wrote the Inaugural speech and set in fast motion a series of moves to cement Trump as an America-first Nationalist.
They maneuvered to get more key allies inside the White House and positioned for top agency jobs.
They wrote many of the executive orders, sometimes with little input from others helping with the transition.
They egged on Trump to take a combative approach with the media, China, Mexico and critics.”
Furthermore, Bannon’s role at Breitbart is what has mainly contributed to his rapid career advancement, which placed him in what he would have previously classified as a corrupt political position, i.e, the chief adviser to the president. However, the conflict of interest present with Bannon’s close vicinity to Trump has contributed to a proliferation of cynical sentiments, especially with the Trump Administration’s refusal to accept objective facts. Of late, the two most egregious lies propagated by Trump and Bannon include:
1) A refusal to accept the fact that Trump’s Inauguration size was smaller than Obama’s ‘09 and ‘13 crowd sizes. The media, including Fox News, vehemently repudiated the Administration’s claims, but, in Trump-like fashion, most of those close to Trump refuse to take back the false claim.
2) Trump questioned the validity of the election, even though he won the Electoral College, in regards to the popular vote totals. More specifically, Trump reiterated the false claim of 3-5 million voters participating in the 2016 Presidential Election. And again, those close to Trump, like Bannon, don’t seem to be eager to callout this deceitful behavior.
Other character flaws include claims of anti-semitism and catering to far-right groups, such as the KKK. The former accusation derived from a personal dispute with Bannon’s ex-wife, who said that Bannon didn’t want his daughters attending a certain school because of the high concentration of Jews attending the institution.
But Bannon’s personal matters are peripheral in comparison to the President’s most recent executive orders, which seems to reflect the philosophy disseminated by Breitbart News. Essentially, the mirroring of a questionable news source produces ethical issues as a fact consensus is rejected not based on merit, but rather, based on personal beliefs. It’s a scary precedent: if general facts cannot be agreed upon, even with a consensus, despots and xenophobes will have the capacity to sway those insecure with changing demographics and economic uncertainty.