New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci gave his first interview to the white supremacist site Breitbart, which then attacked a CNN reporter for asking him tough questions.
New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci launched his tenure by reaching out to the white supremacist alt-right site Breitbart. Soon after, Breitbart launched an attack on a reporter who skeptically interviewed Scaramucci.
The episode marks the latest stage in the Trump administration’s embrace of propaganda, misinformation, and an authoritarian quasi-state run media.
Scaramucci spoke to Trump sycophant and longtime Breitbart writer Matthew Boyle for his first interview after getting the job. Scaramucci joked about hiring Boyle, asking him, “Did you send your job application form in yet, Matt?”
Scaramucci said he was “honored” to speak with the outlet, and said he saw Breitbart as part of the “different apparatus that we have where people will allow us to deliver our message to the American people unfiltered.” He also told Boyle he had been “a great help” to him after CNN was forced to retract a story about him.
After the interview with Scaramucci, Boyle authored a Breitbart piece attacking CNN anchor Jake Tapper. On the same day the article was published, Scaramucci had a contentious interview with Tapper, in which he was pressed to reveal that an anonymous source he cited deflecting from the Russia investigation was actually Donald Trump.
Breitbart was run for years by Steve Bannon, the chairman of Trump’s campaign and now his chief strategist in the White House. During the campaign, Bannon declared that the site was a “platform for the alt-right,” the white supremacist movement that opposes immigration and espouses numerous racist beliefs.
As part of that coverage, Breitbart published a vertical on “black crime,” which sought to highlight the race of offenders as part of an overarching message of hate.
The site has also trafficked in conspiracy theories, misogyny, and religious hatred. It has produced a constant stream of shoddy and inaccurate “journalism,” aimed at promoting Trump, attacking Democrats and Republicans whom they deem insufficiently deferential to Trump and his xenophobia, and promoting conservative causes.
Bannon recently received an ethics waiver that would give him the ability to continue to control and direct Breitbart’s content, while still serving in the Trump administration.
The cycle between the interviews and Breitbart acting as administration attack dog is a perfect example of the dream scenario Scaramucci sketched out in an interview before he joined the administration, of a daily propaganda broadcast using a desk set up on the White House lawn.
His background is as a talking head on Fox News, which, along with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s network of local TV stations, has become Trump’s state TV operation, glorifying him, ignoring negative stories about him, and attacking his enemies.
The Breitbart connection is the latest offense in an authoritarian dream that is an American nightmare.