When it comes to the news coming out about members of President Trump’s White House staff, it is often shocking and bizarre in and of itself. However, when it comes to the latest reporting about Steve Bannon, President Trump’s Chief Strategist, from Fox News, bizarre is almost not strong enough a word to describe what happened. In a recent news report that could only be described as a misguided attempt to defend Chief Strategist Bannon, an unbelievably strange and confounding graphic was used.
This graphic compared Bannon to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, one of the leaders of ISIS and one of the most wanted men on the planet. This attempted comparison is so strange that even giving the graphic context does not do much to help Bannon or Fox News’s case for this distasteful and laughable argument.
The segment in which the image was used involved an interview with the deputy editorial page editor at USA Today, David Mastio. The newspaper had recently published a piece that compared Bannon and Baghdadi and alleged that they shared a similar belief regarding a stark divide between the civilizations of the Islamic world and the Western culture that will inevitably lead to conflict.
This comparison is easy to back up using facts and statements by both men, including a full interview with Bannon in which he states that historically, the West and Muslims have always been in contention and that a “global war against Islamic Fascism” was looming. The piece, which Mastio explained in the Fox News segment, was meant to show how the use of similar rhetoric to that of one of the ISIS leaders could potentially lead to more interest in ISIS membership.
However, Fox News decided to take the comparison of Baghdadi to Bannon to the extreme, comparing their records of murder in the on-screen graphic. With categories such as “Used Chemical Weapons on Kurds” and “Beheaded Journalists,” Fox News tried to create a ridiculously distracting spectacle to imply that just because Bannon has not committed murder that any comparison between the two men is not possible or appropriate.
The problem here, of course, is the mockery it makes of accurate and insightful journalism and research that pinpoints a specific facet of both Bannon and Baghdadi’s worldviews and the type of political environment that it is creating. Mastio defended the position, stating that the two men were not being compared for who they are as men or people but rather just that one similarity in their view of the world.
Essentially, Fox News has stooped so low as to try to defend Bannon by saying, “At least he is not a murderer.” This low bar is not only laughable but downright frightening. Has this become the new standard by which White House staff and strategists are measured? And not only that, but what about the USA Today piece? Has the state of politics become so bad that a chief strategist to the President is reasonably being compared to a known terrorist leader? The situation is disturbing and frightening to many and likely will not improve any time soon. However, hopefully we can set the bar a bit higher than “not a murderer” for our government officials.
Source: <a href=”http://www.vox.com/world/2017/2/9/14561468/tucker-carlson-steve-bannon-isis”>Vox</a>