By Chris Zuver, Staff Writer
On January 26, President Donald Trump’s assistant and White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon spoke with the New York Times, venting his frustration with major news publications and networks.
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Bannon told them.
“I want you to quote this,” he added. “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.”
These are odd statements, considering Bannon’s role as a founding member of Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet that frequently attacked the Obama administration during its time in office.
It is as if Bannon forgot where he came from or is conveniently ignoring the double standard. And make no mistake: It is a double standard, no matter how righteous he may think he and his ideals are.
Regardless, Bannon has made strong accusations against the media. His stance is not a new one to come from the GOP, including President Trump’s accusations that certain outlets like CNN are “fake news.”
It is understandable that there be concerns of bias in the media. This is nothing new. However, it bothers me that the government, especially someone as high-ranking as Bannon, would desire that the press be silent.
It is important that the press continue to report and question the actions of government officials. It needs to question Bannon and the rest of Trump’s cabinet. I would expect this no matter who was in office. It is crucial that the media investigate and question all powerful establishments in our society, and the world at large, to keep the public informed. Thus, in a sense, when Bannon says that “the media here is the opposition party,” he is not entirely wrong.
And I am not saying that the media is perfect — we all know that is not the case. However, I would rather live in a society with an imperfect but relatively free press than one whose news sources act as puppets to the establishment.
In regards to Bannon’s comment that those in the media “don’t understand this country,” I find it more likely that it is in fact Bannon who does not understand. These are words coming from the adviser of a president who, after only eight days in office, sank below a 50 percent approval rating (which is an exponentially faster decrease than any president in recent history has seen), who has appointed several radicals disturbingly radical individuals into positions of power, and who lost the popular vote by 3 million people.
Bannon is known for being interview-averse. Perhaps this recent outburst goes to show why. And perhaps it is Bannon who should keep his mouth shut.