Questions About Steve Bannon Being a Racist White Nationalist- Commentary!
Summary of eRumor:
After President-elect Donald Trump named former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon as his top advisor, accusations that Bannon is a racist who maintains white nationalist views came to the fore.
Questions about Steve Bannon’s personal views, and whether or not they’re racist, cannot easily be categorized as truth or fiction.
So, we’re going to classify this one as “commentary,” and provide a little background information about Bannon. We’ll also shed a little light on accusations that Bannon is racist, white nationalist.
Bannon, a former Naval officer and investment banker at Goldman Sachs, jumped into the world of politics and media by producing and directing a number of hard-right conservative moves like “Undefeated,” a 2011 documentary about Sarah Palin, the 2004 documentary “In the Face Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed,” and “Battle for America,” a 2010 documentary about “constitutional conservatives and arrogant, out-of-touch and ever expanding central government.”
As Bannon’s documentaries gained notoriety in conservative circles, he began making regular appearances on Sean Hannity’s “Hannity” show on FOX News. During that time, Bannon built a relationship with Breitbart News’s founder Andrew Breitbart and Bannon was named CEO of the conservative news site after Breitbart’s sudden death in 2012 at the the age of 43.
Some have pointed to stories that appeared at Breitbart during Bannon’s tenure there as proof that site promoted anti-Semitic, sexist, racist views — while others, namely Newt Gingrich, argues that Bannon can’t be held responsible for everything published there.
The Southern Poverty Law Center argued that Bannon “aggressively pushed stories that demonized immigrants and linked minorities to terrorism and crime, regularly published columns by leaders of known hate groups, and published a call to ‘hoist the confederate flag high and with pride’ only two weeks after the Charleston massacre:
Before joining the Trump campaign, Bannon oversaw the rise of the Breitbart News Network, which Bannon himself has called “the platform for the alt-right.”
The term alt-right is simply a rebranding of traditional white nationalism for the digital age. During Bannon’s tenure, the website enabled the spread of the alt-right’s extremist ideology from fringe internet culture to the presidential campaign trail.
“Mr. Trump’s selection of Mr. Bannon makes a mockery of his first commitment to the American people as president-elect: ‘to bind the wounds of division,’” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “In Mr. Bannon, he’s tapped a man who has fanned the flames of division by providing a platform for racism, xenophobia, misogyny and anti-Semitism. It’s shocking.”
Gigrich, meanwhile, fired back by calling accusations about Bannon “baloney,” Politico reports:
“Let me just start and say that everybody who is for Donald Trump and everybody who wants Donald Trump to succeed should cue off the mainstream media. If the mainstream media hates something, it’s probably a really good idea,” Gingrich said. “I mean, let’s be clear: They are the mortal opponents of what Trump is trying to achieve.”
Ben Shapiro, a former writer for Breitbart wrote at the Daily Wire that he resigned in March “when it became clear to me that they had decided that loyalty to Donald Trump outweighed loyalty to their own employees, helping Trump smear one of their own reporters,” wrote that Bannon had made the site into a mouthpiece for racist views:
Under Bannon’s Leadership, Breitbart Openly Embraced The White Supremacist Alt-Right. Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.
Finally, the Daily News reported that Bannon’s ex-wife, Mary Louise Piccard said in a 2007 court declaration, that Bannon raised objections with the school his daughters attended because of the number of Jews that went there:
“The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend,” Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007.
“He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” Piccard wrote.
“I told him that there are children who are Jewish at (a competing school), and he asked me what the percentage was. I told him that I didn’t know because it wasn’t an issue for me as I am not raising the girls to be either anti-Semitic or prejudiced against anyone,” she wrote.
In a comment to the Guardian, a Bannon spokesperson denied that he ever made those comments:
Alexandra Preate, a spokeswoman for Bannon, denied on Friday night that he made antisemitic remarks about the private school. “Mr Bannon never said anything like that and proudly sent the girls to Archer for their middle school and high school education,” she said.
In the end, we’re calling claims about Bannon’s views as “commentary” because they simply can’t be proven to be truth or fiction.