Monday, April 24, 2017

What's the difference between Bannon & Le Pen?

Jim Lobe at LobeLog    
TO WASH POST: Bannon "Conservative," Le Pen "Far Right"

Why does the Post refer to Steve Bannon as a conservative while it refers to Marine Le Pen as "far right," and her party as a "Specter of Fascism."
Lobe: My concern is that the use of the word “conservative” to describe radical right-wing individuals like Bannon and Sessions gives them and their views a respectable gloss that they don’t deserve and is very clearly misleading. It effectively legitimizes their ideas. “Conservative” has a reassuring connotation. “Far right,” “reactionary,” “extreme right” “radical”—even just “right-wing”—on the other hand are all words that have a far less comforting emotional effect on most people, to say the least. But if Bannon’s ideas are virtually identical to Marine Le Pen’s, why is he described as “conservative,” while she is “far right?” 
Why, is the Post so reticent about labelling Bannon's views for what they are?
LobeLog is not behind a fire wall.


  1. Lobe makes an interesting observation.

    Tangentially related: I read Trumps tweets every day, and I am struck with the way the Post takes a more measured approach to reporting them than the NYT.

    1. Jean, you have more fortitude than I do!

    2. Jean... Would love to have an example or two. Have any...of more and less measured reporting. The Times is head over heels in love with covering the hateful Trump!

  2. I agree with Lobe, the Post is using a double standard, and is imprecise and and sloppy in its use of the word "conservative". To me, Bannon is more of an anarchist than anything else; since his stated goal is " deconstruction of the administrative state". He is a disruptor. And it seems like Trump is increasingly distancing himself from him. Which is probably a good thing.

  3. John Oliver had a recent episode about the French elections and Le Pen. She seems pretty scary.

  4. Trump made a big deal about not being "PC", for "telling it like it is". And his fans applauded and roared. In his case, he was implying that it was "honest" to describe all Mexicans as criminals and rapists, all Muslims as potential terrorists.

    But when his opponents "tell it like it is", the administration goes ballistic with "faux news" charges, with it's "biased mainstream media" charges.

    That should not stop the Post and others from "telling it like it is", but perhaps they fear losing access, as they and other mainstream media sources did when they were banned during the campaign. I wish they would refuse to be intimidated. If they begin to pull punches because of fear, then our country will be in worse shape than it is now.

    I once considered myself to be "conservative". The entire meaning of the term has changed during the last 20 years, co-opted by extremists like Bannon. What was once considered the far right fringe in the Republican party has become the dominant force, so the Tea Party describes itself as the voice of conservatism, muscling aside the Tuesday Group, who are much more moderate.But the same thing has happened in the Democratic party - the liberal fringe is now seen as the norm for the party. The center has been lost in both parties.

    Fr. Richard McBrien, of Notre Dame, once wrote a column in which he noted that the institutional leaders of the church had shifted so far to the right over a couple of decades, that what was once considered "middle" or "mainstream" thought in the church had become "extreme left". Many believe that this is one of the main reasons that thirty million cradle catholics in the US left the church during the same time period. Now it has happened in politics - it is far harder to simply walk away from one's country than from a religious organization. Catholics have no vote, no voice in the running of the church. Americans do have a vote - so, how do we respond? Write a letter to the Post and other organizations to urge them to "tell it like it is" instead of pulling their punches? It's a small step, but we have already seen that the town halls and other grass roots efforts to oppose Trump are already seeming to have at least a slight impact.