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New Yorker Editor Disinvites Steve Bannon, Issues Defensive Statement

Former White House aide Steve Bannon. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

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.”

“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:

Naomi LaChance
Blogger / Editorial Assistant
Naomi LaChance has written for local newspapers such as the Berkshire Eagle and the Poughkeepsie Journal as well as national outlets including NPR, the Intercept, TYT Network and the Huffington Post. Her…
Naomi LaChance

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