New Yorker Editor Disinvites Steve Bannon, Issues Defensive Statement
David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, revealed on Twitter on Monday he will no longer be interviewing Steve Bannon at the magazine’s annual ideas festival. After the withdrawal of several festival speakers—including director Judd Apatow, television host Jimmy Fallon, comedian John Mulaney, comedian and actor Patton Oswalt and actor Jim Carrey—Remnick announced Bannon had been disinvited and will no longer receive a speaker’s fee, free lodging or travel. He added he would still be interested in interviewing Bannon “in a more traditionally journalistic setting.”
Maybe they should have had an interview with Harvey Weinstein, or OJ, or Stephen Miller. Not all ideas deserve to be presented. Cosby isn’t in jail yet— maybe he can do a quick ten minutes. They did the right thing dumping him. Regardless, I love your podcast. https://t.co/ZLIA6zQJdE
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) September 4, 2018
The New Yorker has been my holy grail for the whole of my writing life. There is no publishing credit I want more. I was writing an essay for them (online) about one of my favorite TV shows, but I just pulled it because I just… I cannot wrap my mind around this Bannon thing.
— roxane gay (@rgay) September 3, 2018
I bet that once David Remnick interviews him everyone will realize that Steve Bannon is wrong
— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) September 3, 2018
“I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation,” Remnick told The New York Times earlier. The New Yorker editor notes in his statement that “the point of an interview … is to put pressure on the views of the person being questioned.”
The episode calls to mind NPR’s ill-fated decision to interview white supremacist Jason Kessler ahead of the second annual Unite the Right rally in Washington, D.C., last month. During that exchange, Noel King asked her subject if he thought “white people are smarter than black people” and offered such keen rebuttals as, “You sound like somebody who wants to tick people off.”
Despite acknowledging the concerns of readers and contributors alike, Remnick’s statement strikes a decidedly defiant tone, defending talks with the former White House aide as a means of better understanding why Donald Trump was elected and how he thinks. But unlike political adviser Stephen Miller or White House chief of staff John Kelly, Bannon is no longer a member of the Trump administration and has largely been irrelevant since his dismissal. (His effort to help elect Roy Moore as senator in Alabama last year was a spectacular failure.)
“[He] has not retired,” Remnick writes. And while this is technically true—Bannon has been giving interviews to every media outlet who will have him and working on a documentary called “Trump @ War,” all while stumping for far-right candidates across Europe—there’s nothing to be gained from giving a platform to an avowed white nationalist. That Remnick cites Bannon’s readership of The New Yorker is all the more confounding.
Read the statement in its entirety below:
A statement from David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, explaining his decision to no longer include Steve Bannon in the 2018 New Yorker Festival. pic.twitter.com/opayiw5GQ2
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) September 3, 2018