Bloomberg recently published an extensive article on Steve Bannon, author and executive chairman for the right-wing news organization Breitbart News. Bannon is described as the “Most Dangerous Political Operative in America.” But the ex-Goldman Sachs banker and former Hollywood mogul isn’t just out to get Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He’s been out to derail Jeb Bush as well.
Bannon comes from a “blue-collar, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats,” according to the recent piece on Bloomberg. He became disillusioned with the Democratic party during the Carter Administration, becoming a life-long Reagan Republican. Bannon was equally disgusted by the disaster left in the wake of George W. Bush’s eight-year Reign of Error.
It’s no coincidence that Bannon is targeting the “Establishment” candidates. Hillary Clinton is still the favorite of the corporate Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, while the GOP Establishment clings to hopes that Jeb Bush will somehow turn things around. That scenario is highly unlikely. All other considerations aside, Jeb Bush still carries a tremendous amount of baggage from his brother’s Administration. At the same time, Hillary Clinton continues to face scrutiny over her storage of official emails on a private server, and the despite the blatantly political nature of the Benghazi investigations, that issue refuses to go away for her.
And should the electorate forget about these issues, Bannon’s low-profile, but highly organized media and research organization, the non-profit Government Accountability Institute (GAI), is prepared to remind them. With a staff of legal experts, forensic investigators and data scientists, the GAI regularly collaborates with mainstream media outlets on breaking stories about the full gamut of dirty dealings and political misconduct – and neither Democrats nor Republicans are safe.
Part of Bannon’s strategy is to plant well-researched, fact-based stories in reputable outlets, such as the New York Times. His staff at the GAI does the research, documents the facts, then hands it off to investigative reports at mainstream outlets. He told Bloomberg, “We’ll go out and say, ‘Hey, here’s what we’ve got. You guys take it from here.’” According to former conservative David Brock, founder of the liberal news organization Media Matters for America, it’s a brilliant strategy. “Your operation isn’t going to succeed if you don’t cross the barrier into the mainstream,” Brock told Bloomberg. “Looking at it from their point of view, [an outlet like] the Times is the perfect host body for the virus.”
Bannon may be on to something by going after “Establishment” candidates like Clinton and Bush, particularly this year, when political outsiders like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are dominating the discussion. However, his organization has a history with the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, both of whom were highlighted in his documentary films, Battle for America and Undefeated.
Bannon is as disgusted by the corporate bailouts and political corruption as the rest of us, but what is his agenda? Imagery in his documentaries indicate that he is an Ayn Rand libertarian. For example, there is footage of wild lions attacking and devouring their prey, as well as time-lapse clips of plants bursting through the soil into “glorious bloom.” Beyond this, however, there is little information about Bannon’s backers or who he’s ultimately working for.
Currently, Breitbart is favoring GOP front-runner Donald Trump, a businessman with highly questionable political credentials, demonstrated poor judgment, and a checkered past. If Bannon is trying to play the role of “kingmaker”, and indeed has as much power and influence in the media as Bloomberg claims, he very well may be the “most dangerous political operative in America.”
Read more about Steve Bannon and the GAI at BloombergPolitics.