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Steve Bannon’s New Yorker Festival Date Draws Backlash; Editor Promises ‘Serious and Even Combative Conversation’

New Yorker criticized for booking ex-Trump advisor

Steve Bannon, who helped President Trump win the White House before an ugly parting of ways with the White House, is getting a new platform from the New Yorker magazine — but editor David Remnick promises Bannon won’t have an easy night.

“I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation,” Remnick told the New York Times. “The audience itself, by its presence, puts a certain pressure on a conversation that an interview alone doesn’t do. … You can’t jump on and off the record.”

Bannon’s attendance brought a fast backlash because Remnick (among others at the New Yorker) has been consistently critical of the Trump administration. Bannon is also reviled on the left for his embrace of nationalism, which some of his critics say is just thinly veiled white nationalism.

BoingBoing.net‘s Rob Beschizza called Bannon a “white supremacist sponge” and mocked Remnick by running several New Yorker cartoons with the caption, “I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation.”

BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin tweeted, “How much is Steve Bannon being paid by the ? I’ll be canceling my subscription today. The Nazi’s got all the platforms he needs. He gets none of my money.”

“Why am I still looking at Steve Bannon’s face in September of 2018?” tweeted freelance writer Philip Ellis. “Why are organisations like the still booking fascists for their events?”

“My grandmother got me a subscription to the @ and I’ve kept it going for decades since her death. I’ll be sorry to give it up but I will if this doesn’t change,” tweeted Los Angeles Times book editor Carolyn Kellogg.

Bannon did not respond to a request for comment Monday. In the past, he has tried to distance himself from racists, saying “ethno-nationalists” are “losers” and “clowns.”

Bannon, who led Breitbart News when it published stories that belittled illegal immigrants, feminists, and LGBTQ people, took over Trump’s campaign in summer 2016, and later served as Trump’s White House adviser and strategist. He exited in August 2017, in what the president later described as a firing. Bannon then returned to Breitbart, but stepped down when Trump went after him because of his quotes in the book “Fire and Fury.”

In the book, Bannon accused the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., of attending a “treasonous” meeting with Russian operatives. But he later backtracked and said he was criticizing ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, not Trump Jr.

Bannon will speak with Remnick on Oct. 5, the first night of the three-day festival. Other guests include Haruki Murakami, Emily Blunt, John Krasinksi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patton Oswalt, Hasan Minhaj, Zadie Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Bo Burnham, Christine Baranski, Mike Birbiglia, Terence Nance, Janet Mock, John Mulaney and Boots Riley.