Steve Bannon, White House strategist and former CEO of Breitbart News who proudly transformed the website into “a platform for the alt-right,” told New York Times reporters last night that “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
That is the very sentiment Bannon allegedly expressed to his ex-wife after he was charged with domestic violence.
During a call Bannon made to discuss Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Bannon said that “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.”
“You’re the opposition party,” Bannon reportedly said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”
That sort of vindictive talk is normal for Bannon, who was among the worst actors in American media before he became Trump’s chief strategist — and has a history of controlling behavior as well as physical violence.
According to a contemporary police report, Bannon allegedly grabbed his ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard by the neck and bruised her wrist during an altercation at their Santa Monica, California home in 1996, then tried to stop her from calling police.
“I took the phone to call the police and he grabbed the phone away from me throwing it across the room,” Piccard said, “and breaking it as he [was] screaming that I was a ‘crazy f—ing c–t!”
A few weeks later, Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery, and dissuading a witness from testifying. Via Politico:
The counts issued against Bannon in the domestic violence section include count 273.5(A), which according to the California Penal Code is “corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” on a victim who is either a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, partner, or mother or father of the offender’s children.
Another count listed in the court records, 136.1(B)(1), is for seeking to “prevent or dissuade another person who has been the victim of a crime or who is witness to a crime” from reporting it to authorities.
The third count, 242, was for battery, which is defined under California law as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
As Piccard elaborated in her divorce action, Bannon’s lawyer “threatened” the mother of their twins, saying she “would have no money [and] no way to support the children” should the case go to trial.
Piccard says that Bannon told her, “that if I wasn’t in town they couldn’t serve me and I wouldn’t have to go to court.”
The pressure worked. Piccard failed to appear for Bannon’s trial.
Now Bannon seems to think he can browbeat the press into serving as mere stenographers for the insane blatherings of Donald Trump.
A savvy manipulator of the press, and a proud provocateur, Mr. Bannon was among the few advisers in Mr. Trump’s circle who was said to have urged on Mr. Spicer’s confrontational, emotional statement to a shocked White House briefing room on Saturday, when the White House disputed press reports on the inauguration crowd size. He mostly shares Mr. Trump’s view that the news media has misunderstood the movement that the president rode into office.
In fact, American news media has perfectly understood the nature of Trump’s “movement” from the beginning of his campaign, when he declared that Mexico was “sending rapists” to the United States.
What they failed to see was that Steve Bannon had spent his four years at the right-wing site Breitbart.com making such ideas acceptable to millions of Americans.
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