You know things are bad when the president’s white nationalist chief strategist unabashedly tells the media to “shut its mouth” and “listen for awhile.”
Steve Bannon didn’t mince words when he talked about silencing free speech during an interview with The New York Times.
"The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile," Bannon said.
"I want you to quote this," Bannon told the Times. "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."
Bannon’s comments may not be surprising to many but they have officially proven democracy faces legitimate threat from the new administration.
From the onset of his presidential campaign, Trump and his associates were critical of the mainstream media for reporting stuff like “Trump calls Mexicans rapists,” “Trump wants to build walls,” “Trump falsely accuses New Jersey Arabs of cheering On 9/11,” “Trump wants a shutdown of Muslim immigration” etc., despite the fact that Trump actually uttered all of this garbage in public, on the record and on camera.
As a presidential candidate, Trump would kick out and blacklist reporters for asking tough questions.
However, Trump and his cabinet’s war against press poses a real danger, now that they are in charge of the country.
When Bannon says the media should “shut up,” – for reporting the truth, by the way – he is openly calling for media censorship, which is not what democracy stands for.
Also, it’s important to reiterate the fact here that Bannon is a notorious white nationalist who used to head Breitbart – a fake news website created for racists. Therefore, the call for curtailing free speech is even more dangerous coming from someone like him.
Fortunately, though, journalists and commentators from across the country immediately fired back at Bannon, reminding him that democracy might be in danger but it’s certainly not dead.
The best reaction, perhaps, came from CNN’s Jake Tapper who had a one-word reply to Bannon’s dictatorial request to media:
Jake Tapper's beautiful response to Steve Bannon's call for the press to "Keep its mouth shut." pic.twitter.com/wznGEkWtYq— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) January 26, 2017
Here’s some more reaction:
You heard the Nazi. This is a war. So are we gonna fight back or not? Or should we just keep giving him a chance? https://t.co/BHEKnyPVSB— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 26, 2017
The moment Steve Bannon tells you to keep your mouth shut is the moment you start yelling as loud as you can.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) January 26, 2017
You wish, white nationalist! https://t.co/xi3n1Gc8uG— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 26, 2017
Steve Bannon comments on media ("should just keep its mouth shut") are officially moving US beyond democratic values.— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) January 26, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria