Liberal Pundit: Bannon Enabled MSM to Cover Hillary ‘Through the Prism of Scandal’

August 22nd, 2017 10:56 AM

A few days before Steve Bannon left the Trump White House, President Trump noted that Bannon had not signed on until “very late" in the 2016 campaign. Still, much like a ballplayer acquired just prior to the trading deadline who puts his team over the top, Bannon made a crucial contribution to Trump’s win, suggested New York’s Jonathan Chait on Friday.

Bannon’s “essential work” for the campaign “lay in his attacks on Hillary Clinton,” wrote Chait, who explained that “the anti-Clinton industry had existed since the early 1990s as both a partisan messaging tool and a reliable source of income...The conservative media ecosystem recirculated lurid fantasies that the Clintons were murderers, connected to a drug cartel, and so on. They whipped their base into a failed crusade for impeachment while destroying their credibility with the mainstream media.”

Bannon realized well before he joined the Trump campaign that if Hillary-bashing had a respectable face, it could find a far larger and more persuadable audience than the old-school wacky conspiratorial stuff found (bolding added):

Rather than dismiss the mainstream media as hopelessly biased, as most conservatives did, Bannon grasped both its importance and potential utility. He believed sufficiently credible research could be injected into news organs that potential Clinton voters would read. He helped fund and direct research, such as [Peter Schweizer’s book] “Clinton Cash,” which depicted Hillary Clinton as greedy and criminal.

Bannon’s work in the anti-Clinton complex turned out to shape the battlefield for the campaign in precisely the way he predicted. The news media relentlessly cast the Democratic front-runner as secretive and corrupt, to the point where she was almost no longer the front-runner at all…

…The relentless attacks on [Hillary] continuously shored up the Republican base…and it served just as well to depress the Democratic base…

News coverage defined Clinton largely -- indeed, almost entirely -- through the prism of scandal, with the Clinton Foundation and email stories comprising the overwhelming majority of news stories about her…

Even so, Chait contended, Trump “still would have lost if not for the interventions of FBI director James Comey and Russian intelligence (the latter of which may well prove to have been coordinated through Trump’s campaign).”