Donald Trump strategist: Media should ‘keep its mouth shut’

Steve Bannon claims press and broadcasters are the ‘opposition’ facing new US president

 Kellyanne Conway (L), an adviser to Donald Trump, and the president’s chief strategist Steve Bannon walk toward the Oval Office on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Kellyanne Conway (L), an adviser to Donald Trump, and the president’s chief strategist Steve Bannon walk toward the Oval Office on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

 

Days after US president Donald Trump spoke of a “running war” with the media, his chief White House strategist, Stephen Bannon, ratcheted up the attacks, arguing news organisations had been “humiliated” by the election outcome.

Mr Bannon repeatedly described the media as “the opposition party” facing the Trump administration.

“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” he said in an interview. “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. ”

The scathing assessment delivered by one of Mr Trump’s most influential advisers, in the first days of his presidency comes at a moment of tension between the news media and the administration.

There have been skirmishes over the size of Mr Trump’s inaugural crowd and the president’s false claims that millions of illegal votes by unauthorised immigrants swayed the popular vote against him.

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Mr Bannon, who rarely grants interviews to journalists outside of Breitbart News, the right-wing website he ran until August, was echoing comments by Mr Trump last weekend, when the president called journalists “among the most dishonest people on earth.”

Among Mr Trump’s advisers in the White House, Mr Bannon is responsible for putting into action the nationalist vision that the president channeled during the later months of the campaign, one that stemmed from him.

In many ways Mr Trump has acted on that vision during his first week in office.

A savvy manipulator of the press, and a proud provocateur, Mr Bannon was among the few advisers in Mr Trump’s circle who were said to have urged on press secretary Sean Spicer’s confrontational statement to a shocked West Wing briefing room Saturday, when the White House disputed news reports about the size of the inauguration crowd.

Mr Bannon spoke Wednesday in blunt but calm tones, peppered with profanity, and humorously referred to himself at one point as “Darth Vader.”

He said, with ironic relish, that Mr Trump was elected by a surge of support from “the working-class hobbits and deplorables.”

New York Times