WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon is lashing out at the media.
In an interview with the New York Times (NYT) released on Thursday, Bannon referred to the news media as "the opposition party." He said:
The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. I want you to quote this. 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 strong words come after a new rift developed between President Donald Trump and the news media concerning the size of Trump's inaugural crowds. While speaking at CIA headquarters on January 21, Trump remarked, "As you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth."
During his NYT interview, Bannon remarked, "The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work. You're the opposition party. Not the Democratic Party. You're the opposition party. The media's the opposition party."
He then went on to eviscerate the NYT. "The paper of record for our beloved republic, The New York Times, should be absolutely ashamed and humiliated. They got it 100 percent wrong."
Referring to the liberal media in general, he said, "That's why you have no power. You were humiliated."
During his presidential campaign, Trump and the press were often at loggerheads, with the president accusing the media of being biased. Many claimed that Trump planned to restrict the rights of the media if elected president and didn't respect freedom of the press.
For example, the Huffington Post, when writing about Trump during the campaign, featured an editor's note in every article that read, "Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S."
About a month before the election, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement, saying, "[Donald] Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States."
Trump has argued repeatedly that the media refuses to give him a fair shake and is biased against him.
In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday, he doubled down on his criticism of the media. "They're very hostile. These are very hostile people. They're very dishonest, these are very dishonest people."
Regarding the size of his crowds, Trump told Hannity, "It's fake news. It's fake. They make things up. They try to demean it so much. When I was in that speech it was a sea of people, and they want to demean it. They are so demeaning and so dishonest and in many cases not very smart."
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has also come out swinging against the press in his first week on the job. In a recent press conference, he said, "There is this constant theme to undercut the enormous support that he has. I think it's just unbelievably frustrating."
According to analysis from Glenn Reynolds of USA Today, "Trump knows that the press isn't trusted very much, and that the less it's trusted the less it can hurt him. So he's prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they're constantly taking the bait."
Other commentators have noted that Trump's extensive experience with the press has helped him to craft a winning strategy.
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, a well-known, left-leaning magazine, wrote:
Trump's press strategy since the election has had two parts. Part one: refuse to talk to the press, so they're starved for news. Part two: dribble out tiny, often ambiguous tweets once or twice a day on subjects of his choosing. This guarantees that he gets precisely the headlines he wants.