Saturday, 4 February 2017

Some of the President's men

On today's From Our Own Correspondent, Jon Sopel was arguing that the Trump administration is much more ideological than many suspected and that "maybe we [journalists like him] were right after all we do need to take Donald Trump literally". 

He then described the "small inner circle of men" provided that "ideological backbone" - and I think think it's fair to say that he doesn't paint them in a very positive light:

In the old days of Cold War certainty we used to sit and watch the May Day parade in Red Square and see which Politburo members were closest to President Brezhnev to decide who was in and who was out in the Kremlin power play. Now you just need to look at who's in the background of all the pictures of President Trump signing those executive orders to see who's at the top of the White House pecking order. 
There's the president's National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn, who during the election put out tweets connecting the Clintons to a paedophile ring and has called Islam "a cancer." 
There's a young man with receding hair called Steve Miller, who at 31 was given the responsibility of writing the extreme vetting policy which has caused such controversy around the world. 
But he was given help by another, much larger man who looms in the background of all the pictures. His name is Steve Bannon. 
He has - well how can one put this kindly? - a slightly lived-in look. He's a bit overweight, hair unkempt, blotchy skin, and wears ill-fitting suits.  
And before he moved into the White House to become the president's chief adviser he was the insurgent who wanted to blow the Establishment to smithereens. He was previously the head of Breitbart News - a right-wing website that some have characterised as 'white supremacist'.  
That isn't quite right. 'White nationalist' might be more accurate; 'nationalist' certainly. It seemed to hark back to an America that was white and Christian, where women were in the home and minorities knew their place. 
Just a few Breitbart headlines for you to consider: 'Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy'. An article of the anti-Trump Conservative writer Bill Crystal was headlined 'Renegade Jew'. There's also this: 'Gay rights have made us dumber. It's time to get back in the closet' and 'Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?'. Or how about this one: 'Hoist it high and proud: the Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage'. 
These people, with Donald Trump's support, are on a mission...


  1. What would biased BBC reporters do without the "Some" who are always coming to their aid.

    "Some might call the BBC a freeloading organisation dominated by the liberal-left and subscribing to an extreme form of politically correct muliculturalism. However, that isn't quite right. They do occasionally have Andrew Neil and Peter Hitchens on. But consider these few BBC headlines: "Truck kills five." "Islam gave us the Englightenment" or how about this one: "Men found guilty of making bombs" Makes you think doesn't it? "

    1. I often wonder if the 'some' who say are often also 'critics'.

      When I ask the BBC who they are, they tell me it is a secret, transparently, but trust them.

  2. He has - well how can one put this kindly? - a slightly lived-in look. He's a bit overweight, hair unkempt, blotchy skin, and wears ill-fitting suits.

    How did Mark Mardell become a top Trump adviser?

    Sopel's easly descent to ad hominem shows how desperate he is to discredit Bannon and Trump. I complained relentlessly about Mark Mardell for the five or so years he was the BBC North America editor, making every effort to show how he is discredited, dishonest, biased, and often factually incorrect. Never once did I make a remark about his appearance. Sopel is a disappointment.

    1. As ever, the BBC had opened the Pandora Box of precedent.

      How can one put this kindly? Careful what you unleash, Aunty.

  3. Listening to Stephen Nolan on Radio 5 on FRiday night, guest Mohammed Shafiq branded Stephen Bannon a white supremecist. Now normally when a guest oversteps the mark, Nolan would say something like 'wait a minute, we can't say things like that. Mr [subject of slur} is not here to defend himself. Not on this occasion. Nolan remained silent.

    Mr Bannon, if you're out there, please sue.

    1. Yes, BBC presenters are usually straight in at the slightest whiff of possible legal difficulties.

  4. The facility with which the BBC insults the Trump administration leads me to believe that the editorial policy comes from on high. (!!!) BBC correspondents are too cowardly to think this stuff up on their own.