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

And all they left were crickets.


Surely that’s not the goal of inviting him.

Bannon knows a thing or two about finding and connecting with an audience. If he was invited to talk about the business of journalism as he sees it, there could be a lot to learn.

The New Yorker and Economist have done a terrible job reaching middle America. If that’s something they want to change Bannon is somebody that might be worth listening to.

The goal was selling tickets. Off-line clickbait. And also naive liberal virtue signalling per the Grauniad article posted above (seriously, read it).

Not really, because (again) he wouldn’t be presenting such a discussion in good faith. There’s been plenty of insightful analysis and criticism of the business of journalism as he practises it, much of it drawing on the history of right-wing populist propaganda or on current SEO and PR practises.

Plenty of people in the Midwest read and subscribe to those publications.

The historical parallel here isn’t censorship in Nazi Germany, when a counter-argument would get one imprisoned or killed. The parallel is to Weimar, when too few liberals and establishment conservatives understood the dangers of lending fascists the credibility of their platforms. Which history is being repeated now.


So journalism should learn to adopt the same disingenuous rhetorical techniques he uses to deceive millions? That will serve them well.



There is nothing to be gained: decent people already oppose Bannon’s ethnofascism, Nazis gonna Nazi, and Regressive Conservatives value their tribe more than moral justice.

Edit to add:
People arguing to platform Nazis are literally those who would lose nothing if Nazis had more power. Targets of nazis are saying to deplatform, fucking listen to them. People, ain’t nobody be worse off if society just doesn’t give Nazis a platform.


If they wanted to do that Goebbels and Ed Bernays wrote the playbooks a long time ago.

Not that Bannon would discuss those details. He’d just go on with the usual BS about how “Coastal elites” don’t understand Real Americans™ like he does.



What Bannon and others of his ilk are trying to accomplish is a kind of intellectual gerrymandering; moving the boundaries around political discourse to give themselves a voice. Listening to what they have to say is identical to handing them a victory.

The world has gone down the road towards ethno-nationalism plenty of times and it’s not an experiment that needs to be repeated. Spoiler: it ends badly.


Look bruh, we get it: you really, really, really like giving the alt-reich a megaphone. Cool. Go home.


Bannon is already in a more powerful position in society than you or I.

What is happening here is not censorship.


This. This so much.


Why is it that people who seem to invoke freedom of speech and censorship most often are the ones who least understand them?


Here’s why:


We already finished this conversation, back in 1945.


Bannon is not interested in honest examination of ideas, only in multiplying his voice at every public forum. To give him voice is to be complicit in the spread of hate and the destruction of equality.


Yes, maybe we should protest the fascists and lock them in jail. Obviously that worked out so well!

You do realize that protesting someone is protected by free speech and does not lead to them being in jail right?



Here’s the thing - this is how cults work. There’s a reason these guys are all DEBATE MEEE.

They don’t care about winning the debate, they care about recruiting cultists. All of them are there because they are among the tiny percentage of the audience at a violent asshole cultist vs. sensible person debate who went “hey, you know what, I like what this violent asshole cultist has to say. I wish to subscribe to his newsletter.”

If you debate them in front of 1000 audience members, and trounce them so thoroughly that 99.5% of the audience sees that their ideas are abhorrent garbage, and think you clearly won the debate - they get 5 new cult members. THEY WON the moment you agreed to debate them, because they don’t care about winning the debate, they care about winning the podium. As soon as they get on stage, they have already won the prize they are after.

And realistically, you will never get to 99.5% agreement that you won. Maybe 95% if you’re really really good and they’re terrible at their job (and Bannon is not terrible at his job).

Because now the only way you can take the victory is by winning the debate so thoroughly that 100% of the audience sees you’re right. And you will NEVER achieve that. You will ALWAYS fail some members of the audience, and deliver them into the cult. The only way to win a debate with a Nazi is to punch him in the face every time he appears to debate - as many times as it takes until he’s afraid to even apply to enter a debate.


Unless the protest is against police brutality and corruption, or 45, or ICE… and you’re a person of color; then it might.


Protesting the fascists seems to be working nicely at the moment: the usual handful of Master Race schmoes are always vastly outnumbered and drowned out by counter-protesters.

And while we should throw fascists in the slammer when they (inevitably) get violent at protests or (as happened in Weimar) attempt to violently overthrow the elected government, no-one here is (and no-one in Weimar was) talking about locking them up for speaking or demonstrating peacefully.


Yep! That’s entirely true. Who gets access to public places to speak is very much dictated by race, gender, class, and political orientation. Additionally, in American history, it’s not been the right, even the hard right who’ve been censored. It’s almost always the left and people of color (except those that support white supremacy) that have been censored by the state…

Bannon isn’t in “jail” because some people protest against him having a public platform! Bannon is a prominent public figure who very recently had the ear of the sitting president, is incredibly wealthy, and is in no danger of losing his public voice. To pretend that he’s a victim here is obtuse at best or just flat out disingenuous.


He’s right about one thing though;

Anyone from ‘the opposing side’ who deigns to ‘hear him out’ or debate him (or any of his ilk) is totally VIRTUE SIGNALING: “Look at how fair and reasonable we are!”

Fuck that noise; there is no “fair exchange of ideas” to be had, when both sides are coming from a place of BAD FAITH and opportunism.