Steve Bannon can't handle the media's reporting of the White House - and the media knows it

Harriet Marsden@harriet1marsden
Saturday 28 January 2017 09:45
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Picture:(Getty / Mandel Ngan)

Steve Bannon, former Breitbart.com (alt-right media organisation) CEO and now White House top aide and strategist, has lashed out at the media.

Calling news organisations "the real opposition party" to Donald Trump in a telephone interview with The New York Times, Bannon told the press it's time to "keep its mouth shut".

"The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence and no hard work," he said, ironically citing The New York Times, as well as The Washington Post.

But Carl Bernstein, legendary American journalist, has suggested that Bannon's outburst is fuelled by the fear that the media will focus too heavily on the "emotional stability and maturity" of the President.

Read on for the full story...

Why is Bannon attacking the media?

It could be because the media has strongly objected to the obfuscation and 'alternative facts' on the part of the Trump administration.

The serious tension between Trump and the media has erupted lately (again) regarding the truth about the size of the inaugural crowd, and the White House's refusal to retract the lie that millions of illegal voters stole the popular vote from Trump.

What happened?

Despite overwhelming photographic and data evidence that suggest the total opposite, Trump still claims he had the largest inauguration crowd in history.

Trump called journalists "among the most dishonest people on earth" during his first official stop at the CIA headquarters, saying he was at "war" with them.

Then what happened with Sean Spicer?

Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, simply added fuel to the flames during a confrontational press briefing which shocked attending journalists due to consistent and ridiculous errors.

He maintained the lie about the crowd size at the inauguration and lectured the media on how to do their jobs while failing to retract the widely discredited claim about voter fraud.

Spicer even compared factual discrepancy to "how we all perceive weather differently".

Then what happened with KellyAnne Conway?

Senior adviser KellyAnne Conway then weighed in on the debate in an interview with NBC, arguing that Mr Spicer had not lied.

He had simply provided reporters with "alternative facts", a now infamous misuse of the word "lie" which the internet was quick to condemn.

What is the media's response?

Comparisons to notorious dictatorships and press oppression around the world are widespread.

References to Orwell's 1984, the Ministry of Truth, 'doublethink' and 'newspeak' have caused sales of the book to skyrocket.

CNN'S Christiane Amanpour wrote on Twitter: What country are we living in?

Enter Carl Bernstein...

Bernstein is no stranger to holding presidents to account, given his famous reporting on the Watergate scandal.

During an appearance with Don Lemon on CNN tonight, Bernstein responded that: "Weather reports are about what is going to happen, not what happened.

"We're talking about lies about what occurred."

He also reported that there is "open discussion" by Republican party members about Trump's stability, and claimed that Bannon is reacting out of concern that the media will focus on this.

Just one thing quickly about Steve Bannon, and that is I would speculate here, not report, that he is very concerned that the story is now moving to Donald Trump's emotional stability and maturity.

Don Lemon asked Kurt Bardella, former Breitbart employee, "You know these folks in the White House. Is it like - do they believe facts are like a weather forecast?"

Apparently, according to Bardella, it's not about facts, but "it's alternative reality."

In summary

Bannon does indeed appear concerned that the media will go after Trump's mental state.

This is unsurprising, given that leaks from the White House suggest that his aides are treating him like an irascible, uncontrollable child.

However, logic suggests that the media wouldn't focus on the proposed instability or emotional maturity of the new President if the man himself did not give them so much incentive to do so.

Against the backdrop of a growing feud with respected media organisations, temper tantrums on Twitter, a near obsessive focus on the size of his inauguration crowd and his general incoherence in interviews...

How can the media not report what it sees?

More: Donald Trump hired a man many people think is a white nationalist. Then he did something even worse

More: Kellyanne Conway calls misleading errors 'alternative facts'. Is ripped apart by Twitter

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