normalization of extremism: steve bannon edition

Here’s NPR story about Steve Bannon’s appointment as Chief Strategist. It’s just one of many that fails to note how extreme Bannon is, or downplays his extremism. Here’s how NPR describes him:

“Meanwhile, the inclusion of Bannon, the former head of the far-right outlet Breitbart News, suggests another direction entirely. Rumored to be have been considered for chief of staff himself, Bannon “would have been the insurgent choice” for the top aide job, Eyder says. He is “known for his no-holds-barred approach to politics and his popularity among the alt-right,” as NPR’s Sarah McCammon reported last week.”

Here’s how they could have described him:

Steve Bannon is a white supremacist, anti-semite, and a domestic abuser.

Not saying those things – instead saying that he’s “far-right” and “insurgent” – is what normalization looks like.

Author: Dan Hirschman

I am a sociologist interested in the use of numbers in organizations, markets, and policy. For more info, see here.

4 thoughts on “normalization of extremism: steve bannon edition”

  1. Based on wikipedia article on him it looks like the anti-semite and domestic abuser charges were from an ex-wife and were not substantiated and no mention of white supremacist on the wiki page. All may well be true and Breitbart is scary propaganda from what I can tell. It sounds like you might have additional information and sources on all of these allegations of yours. If so, I’d urge you to try to get this information included on wikipedia to avoid further normalization. I bet the press checks the wikipedia article and that this would be influential and important to do.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the quick reply. Skimming through the article you referenced it does look to me like it would be tough to translate that information into wikipedia in a way which would stick–mainly because it depends on allegations by association (even though I agree these are reasonable conclusions).


    1. My impression was that the anti-Semitism and abuse charges were things his wife testified to in some legal proceeding. “Were not substantiated” implies that those things never happened and that she was testifying falsely. Or did you mean that it was a he-said-she-said, and that although without witnesses the charges could not be substantiated, they may be accurate nevertheless?


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