In an article today, Washington Post highlights Steve Bannon's disavowal of white supremacists in a seemingly impromptu interview with progressive magazine The American Prospect. In the article, well below the topics of China and North Korea, came this;
“Ethno-nationalism — it’s losers. It’s a fringe element,” Bannon told the magazine. “I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, eh, help crush it more.”“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.The remarks were startling coming from Bannon, who spent more than four years running the far-right website Breitbart News before he was tapped to join Trump’s campaign.Bannon, the site’s former executive chair, has called the Breitbart “a platform of the alt-right.”The alt-right, by some definitions, is a small, deeply conservative movement that seeks a whites-only state. It was his strategy to use the site to channel white supremacist support for Trump and provide a mouthpiece for his populist message during the 2016 election, a move that helped secure him a senior role in the administration.
Bannon states exactly how he, and most conservatives feel about white supremacists. It's not a flip flop, it's positionally consistent. It's the last paragraph above that irks. They have taken the alt-right definition (they even 'say by some definitions') that suits their narrative. Breitbart has never espoused a whites-only state. To be clear - the alt-right is not equal to white supremacists. That is outright slander. Bannon is exactly correct - it's a fringe element and the media has played it up to make it seem that it's only racists who support Republicans. In doing so they have completely alienated half the country who mostly vote conservative values for economic or value or social sorts of reasons. It's a self defeating approach for the left and for the country.
So it's not only Bannon that gets slandered, it's half the country's voters. But Bannon is the focal point of the article and the Washington Post article and it's Bannon who should take the WaPo to task and set the record straight on the alt-right label on behalf of everyone who has been slandered.
Just as there are communists in the alt-Left, there are white supremacists in the alt-right (and possibly the alt-Left too). More importantly what many on the right would consider the alt-right are conservatives who do not espouse the go-along-to-get-along, country club, establishment Republican niceties. They prefer to fight back and are not afraid to get rough and tumble rather than sit back and take it. It's Bannon or The Rebel, or Breitbart or Milo Yiannopolis rather than Mitch McConnell or Charles Krauthammer or even razor sharp Ben Shapiro (some of whom still have our admiration and respect). That's the real alt-right, not white-supremacists or Neanderthals. But the left and the media will not relent on their narrative. In the end they are likely doing themselves a disservice, but only time will tell. Meanwhile stories with slants like this one need to be called out for what they are - misleading at a minimum or possibly even slander.