Steve Bannon is Fueling Anti-Semitism through Breitbart News

Steve Bannong

Breitbart News Network is a far-right American news, opinion and commentary website founded in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart News has a history of publishing falsehoods and conspiracy theories, as well as intentionally misleading stories. Stephen Kevin "Steve" Bannon is an American former banker, filmmaker and former executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, who is currently serving as assistant to the President and White House chief strategist in the Trump administration. The last analysis showed that Bannon is fostering a comment section in the Breitbart News that increasingly reflects language specific to the white nationalist “alt-right” movement, including anti-Semitic sentiment.

The New York Times describes Breitbart News as an organization with "ideologically driven journalists" that generates controversy "over material that has been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist". Bannon was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News and in March 2012 Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News. Bannon left Breitbart to join the Trump campaign in mid-August 2016 but the editorial focus of the site stayed the course he set it on.

The language of Breitbart commenters is similar to the language of the most aggressive far-right extremists online, especially over a three-year period, the bulk of it under Bannon. Back in 2013, the term “Jewish” was used in a similar way as “white” or “black” as a racial/ethnic descriptor, which is similar to how "Jewish" is used in the mainstream press. But in the last three years the term “Jewish” had changed its context and is used as an epithet such as “socialist” or “commie.”

The Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, commented the rise in anti-Semitic incidents after Trump’s election and said: “I hope very much that President Trump and his political adviser Mr. Bannon understand that the entire world is watching, that it is imperative that their voices be loud and clear in condemning anti-Semitism.” He also mentioned the controversy surrounding the absence of a reference to Jews in White House’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, calling it “rather extraordinary.”

Trump, who is pressured to substantively respond to the rise in anti-Semitic incidents since his election, in an interview with the New York Times argued that Breitbart News was “just a publication.” In an article called “Steve Bannon: ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Anti-Semitic, Racist Elements of the Alt-Right” and published by Breitbart News, Bannon was summarized as saying: “Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.” He added that he will take an “extended leave of absence and cut all association with the site” while he is “working at the pleasure of the president.” Bannon also highlighted the diversity of views that were given a platform at Breitbart News, while also making it clear that both he and the site had “zero tolerance” for “racial and anti-Semitic” views.

Photo Credits: CNN Media

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