The media had a gigantic whinefest Thursday after President Trump‘s scruffy senior advisor Steve Bannon said the media should be “embarrassed” about how wrong they got the 2016 presidential election. He told a NYT reporter that the fourth estate should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile.”
“When a white nationalist tells you to shut up, who knows humiliation and embarrassment like someone who cuddles up to the frog Nazi movement?” MSNBC’s Joy Reid asked rhetorically on Lawrence O’Donnell‘s program Thursday night. “So yeah, I guess he would understand about embarrassment. I am embarrassed indeed that he is steps away from the president of the United States.”
O’Donnell and Reid joked that maybe they should just sit there silently for 45 minutes.
They weren’t the only journalists to react with deep shock to Bannon’s blustery attack.
“A lie as much as anything else,” tweeted BuzzFeed‘s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, who published a 35-page dossier the site knew likely contained lies about Donald Trump on behalf of the Russians. “No reason for media to let him make this true by saying it over and over.”
Among Bannon’s jabs was that the media is the “opposition party.”
To that, WaPo‘s Professor Chris Cillizza remarked, “This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the media’s role.”
Even when he’s making sense Jay Rosen, the nerdy, smug NYU journalism prof, is still annoying. He blasted Bannon, saying, “If there was any doubt in journalists’ minds that the press was being used as a hate object, Bannon just ended it.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper, who is largely known for being accepted by both the left and right spectrums of the media, said on air as well as Twitter, “Reminder that the president’s top aide just told NYT that the press should keep its mouth shut. No.”
Steven Crowder, a conservative political commentator, had a different take. “I’m not a Steve Bannon fan,” he said. “But he wasn’t silencing the media. He was offering advice for avoiding further humiliations.”
He was reacting to Jim Roberts, who had a pointed response to Trump’s senior aide: “Note to Steve Bannon: The media SHOULDN’T keep its mouth shut. And it won’t. I’ve said this before. No president has successfully waged war against the news media. Trump will be no different.” Roberts spent 26 years at the NYT, where ultimately he held the position of assistant managing editor.
CNN media writer Dylan Byers surprisingly agreed with Crowder. In his elder statesman’s nightly newsletter — I’m referring to Brian Stelter — Byers wrote, “The insinuation that the media should ‘keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while’ is troubling, though perhaps not as much as folks think. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think Bannon meant to say that the media should rethink its approach to Trump before criticizing his every utterance. I’m not defending what he said, but I don’t think we need to be histrionic either. I don’t think he’s calling for an actual gag order.”
Stelter, who thankfully did not pose another 50 questions, said Bannon is right to encourage journalists to just listen for awhile. But he didn’t miss a chance to sound wimpy. He said pronouncing journalists as the opposition party was “demeaning” and “exposed a hatred of the press that is corrosive to our democracy.”
There was no relief for HuffPost writer Michael Blackman, who fell right into then vat of hate that Bannon spewed earlier in the day. “Steve Bannon says the media should ‘keep its mouth shut,'” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m surprised he didn’t refer to it as the Jew media.” Blackman was referring to Bannon’s divorce records, which states that he allegedly said he didn’t want his daughter attending a school with a lot of Jews.
Lisa Goldman, a writer and editor and co-founder of 972mag, expressed deep concern over what Bannon said. “I’m not worried Trump will shut down the media,” she wrote. “I’m worried that the media will lose its power to influence. That’s what happened in Israel.”
Breitbart News of course acted like Bannon, the site’s former executive editor, wasn’t including them in his spanking. The site kissed Trump’s ass throughout the election and there was no mistaking who they supported. The site published a scary photograph of Bannon that makes him look like a villainous blob and blew up his words in big red bold letters.
Are they trying to cast Bannon for a role in a horror film?
NYT liberal op-ed writer Charles Blow sounded like he was literally blown over by Bannon’s words.
“We all have to adjust to this unprecedented assault on the truth and stand ready to vigilantly defend against it, because without truth, what’s left?” he asked in an emotional Thursday column about what a liar Trump is. “Our president is a pathological liar,” he wrote. “Say it. Write it. Never become inured to it.”
HuffPost Weird News had a unique reaction to being told to shut up. The folks who run this vertical called Trump an “asshole.”
Politico media writer Jack Shafer tried sarcasm as a coping method.
“Now keeping my mouth shut because Stephen K. Bannon told me to,” he wrote on Twitter.