No, Steve Bannon should not speak at your journalism conference. Here's why.

Originally published at:


Whether it’s Remnick or The Economist*, they all think they’re smart enough to best Bannon in a good-faith debate. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure where exactly in the preceding sentence they go wrong when they give him a platform to spew his long-discredited ideas. Meanwhile I will give my usual refrain:

No quarter for fascists, no excuses for those who wittingly or unwittingly vote for, support, or enable them.

[* official organ of the neoliberal globalist economic consensus Bannon is bent on destroying in favour of something even worse]


Just to be the contrarian here, isn’t there some value to confronting him on his ideas? Unfortunately from media interviews they have been pretty soft with him.


In 1939, when the physical threat against Europe was real, The Economist knew where it stood.

Right. Perhaps this is a decision that should be made by the people who are most directly threatened by white supremacist thought – not the people of privilege who stand to benefit, however unknowingly, or who consider it an intellectual position, rather than a death threat.


No, because regular readers of The New Yorker and The Economist are already aware that his ideas were discredited in the West on 8 May, 1945. The only thing that these publications (and academic institutions) do in these cases is offer him the borrowed credibility and reputability of their platforms.

Also, interviews in these contexts are usually softer than normal journalistic ones, since the interview subjects are considered guests and are often paid an honourarium.


Liberals cannot resist the chance to publicly debate someone into the ground someone with bad ideas formed on bad information.

We saw it with the presidential debates. Clinton had facts on her side, Trump was caught off guard but maintained a tough stance and talked over her a lot. Both sides thought they won.

There is two sets of rules in play for “winning” a debate. Liberal media needs to realize this and deplatform.


Exactly. The typical conservative/Libertarian approach is to treat every debate like the high school version, where fallacious arguments and misrepresentations are allowed if they’re sneaky enough to get past (or impress) the judges. During the GOP primary debates it was very evident that Ted Cruz, one of the many bitter HS debate club nerds in the GOP, was trying to play to the moderators as if they were judges.

Bannon goes a step further, though, because like all fascists he’s not interested in a good-faith debate at all. Liberals and progressives, especially the privileged and polite bien pensant ones at The New Yorker, NYT, The Economist, NPR, etc. need to internalise this.


why not listen to him? Doesn’t he also deserve to earn a living? I’d listen to you if I could. Fair is fair



Nobody “deserves” to earn a living spouting racist propaganda. They need find a less hateful and destructive way to earn a living.


I’m going to assume you’re being facetious here, but for those who don’t get your joke:

  1. Because he’s a fascist and bigot who’s telling us nothing we haven’t heard before from other fascists and bigots.

  2. No, no-one deserves the ability to earn a living (which is different from deserving the right to shelter, food, healthcare, etc.).

  3. You are listening to us!

Also, for those new users arriving here to blow our minds with your unique takes on free speech, please save yourself some effort by reviewing this topic before sharing your view here:


“To use a favourite phrase of Bannon himself, interviewing him is a perverse form of virtue signalling. To indulge him is an egotistical misreading of freedom of speech. It is about boasting liberal commitment to the value, rather than engaging with the evils that hide behind it.”

“White supremacy, banning Muslims from entering countries and fascist flirtations are tangible issues for those not cushioned by the comforts of being of the correct race, religion or skin colour. They are not ideas that need to be “exposed”, or interrogated, or challenged. They are simply to be fought.”

ETA: @‘ing @Kenneth_Wilkinson & @kizontije. You should read it in good faith and try to comprehend the salient points that someone who has survived genocide brings.




In other words they’re ignoring or haven’t heard of Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance:


Fixed your spelling errors.


What value would this bring, specifically? Do you think he or his adherents would ever experience a change of heart? Seriously?


He should show some self reliance and start his own platform.

It’s not like he’s starving. Poor dear. Already very wealthy- and funded by billionaires for his hobby to dismantle America.


This ass can afford to buy national tv ads to spread his filth - he doesn’t need to be given a spot on anyone’s platform.

“ A 30-second spot broadcast nationally averaged around $123,000 as of 2016”


He’ll never tell you what he actually believes. Let me summarize his philosophy for you:

  • He believes he is superior to you in every way.
  • Things like “society” and “government” exist to protect the weak.
  • If chaos is introduced into the system, superior people such as himself will naturally find their place at the top.

True, but remember that in addition to being a fascist he’s also a sleazeball producer.

Max [patiently]: The two cardinal rules of producing are, one: Never put your own money in the show.

Leo: And two?

Max [yelling in Leo’s ear]: NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW!!!