According to a several reporters who tweeted about the incident minutes later, when Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon walked past about 20 or so members of the the press outside of the Press Secretary’s office on Wednesday, he effectively told them to their faces that they are the enemy.
“Steve Bannon, striding past reporters outside @PressSec office: ‘the opposition party, all lined up!'” tweeted CNN’s Kevin Liptak.
As Mediaite documents, several other reporters corroborated the claim (see tweets below), including journalists from NBC News, the New York Times, Roll Call, Dallas News, and the Daily Mail, though whether they were more outraged or proud to be assigned enemy status is unclear.
The truth is the media should have been expecting such a remark from Bannon, as it is simply a reiteration of a statement he made a few weeks ago. The media, said Bannon in an interview in late January, needs to “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” adding, “The media here is the opposition party. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is president of the United States.”
While the statement sent the press into an uproar and inspired a series of dishonest headlines — like CNN’s “Steve Bannon says the ‘media should keep its mouth shut’” — as Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro explains, Bannon’s right:
The media are Trump’s opposition. They were Mitt Romney’s opposition. They were John McCain’s opposition and George W. Bush’s opposition and Ronald Reagan’s opposition. The media are populated by people who largely vote with the left, and who willingly sign off on lies when those lies spring from the left – or at least bias their reporting toward the left.
This lack of objectivity – or even attempted objectivity, in many cases – gives Republicans the opening to simply deny anything the media ever say. As Nate Silver points out, quite correctly, “Trump’s got this clever strategy of leaking trial balloons, then blaming ‘dishonest media’ for reporting the story if & when they flop.” That strategy only works because the media lack credibility, and because they keep stepping all over themselves in their attempts to report Trump’s foibles, real and imagined.
Here’s the reality: if the media wish to be taken seriously by the public again, they must treat the White House as the opposition no matter who occupies it.
Below are a few of the outraged/proud tweets about Bannon’s remark (h/t Mediaite):