It’s none of her business whom Breitbart hires and fires. The site usually behaves as though it’s an arm of Trump’s campaign, granted, but it’s nominally independent. Sanders put herself in this position, though, by pulling this same nonsense a few months ago when she was asked if ESPN should fire Jemele Hill for calling Trump a white supremacist. The reporter reminds her of that before asking her about Bannon. If she’s willing to say ESPN should consider firing Hill, is she willing to say Breitbart should consider firing Bannon? Sure, says Sanders. They absolutely should consider it.
A Twitter pal insists to me that there’s nothing wrong with that answer. Bannon’s embroiled in a national controversy that’s hurting Breitbart’s bottom line, isn’t he? Readers are angry with him for badmouthing Team Trump to Michael Wolff. Of course they should consider dumping him, for their own financial benefit. Really? If Media Matters’s agitation against Sean Hannity got traction and suddenly advertisers started bailing out of the 9 p.m. hour on Fox, would Fox be well advised to consider canning him for the sake of their own bottom line? Let’s not be willfully naive, please. The president’s spokesman is using the official White House briefing to suggest to MAGAworld that Bannon’s removal at Breitbart is something Trump would find reasonable and, therefore, something they should find reasonable. If she wanted to duck the question, she would have said “no comment” or “it’s up to them.” She’s nudging Breitbart to can him here.
Question, then: What’s the supposed firing offense? Slamming the president’s son and son-in-law for being a pair of morons when they met with that Russian lawyer for dirt on Hillary? “Treasonous” was an overstatement, but whatever. It was Bannon’s opinion. Thinking he should lose his job for holding an opinion critical of Team Trump makes sense only if you view pro-Trump media as de facto White House spokesmen — which, I’m sure, is exactly how Trump and Sanders do view them. It *is* a firing offense for a PR flack to badmouth his or her employer. Trump’s not Bannon’s employer and increasingly he’s not even a good mouthpiece for Bannon’s ideology but he expects absolute loyalty from allies and associated media hacks. Bannon denied him that and now it’s only fair and right that Bannon lose everything, starting with the site he built into an Internet juggernaut. Bannon should use this as an opportunity to reclaim Breitbart’s independence from the White House (another Twitter pal joked that Sanders’s comment here reflected Trump and Bannon arguing over who should get Breitbart in the divorce) but he’ll probably back down. Better to be Trump’s servant than suffer with a smaller audience.
Rush Limbaugh was on the radio today reminding listeners that he doesn’t know Bannon, doesn’t know the Mercers, has only met Bannon once or twice, etc, just to give you a sense of Bannon’s current standing in the MAGAsphere. Populist congressional candidates who’ve been boosted by Bannon are also starting to inch away from him, fearing that their alliance with him will now brand them anti-Trump. I don’t think Trump truly wants to make Bannon radioactive on the right, though; what he’s doing now is teaching him a lesson and trying to bring him back into line, to warn him that the next time he wanders too far off the reservation he can be rendered persona non grata among populists in an instant. It’d be foolish to make a durable enemy of Bannon when he and Breitbart have been so useful in promoting him. He’ll get a second chance. Eventually. Here’s Sanders via the Free Beacon.