WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - President Donald Trump's chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon, laced into the US press during an interview Wednesday (Jan 25) evening, arguing that news organisations had been "humiliated" by an election outcome few anticipated, and repeatedly describing the media as "the opposition party" of the current administration.
"The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while," Bannon said during a telephone call.
"I want you to quote this," Bannon added. "The media here is the opposition party. They don't understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States."
The scathing assessment - delivered by one of Trump's most influential advisers - comes at a moment of tension between the news media and the administration, with skirmishes over the size of Trump's inaugural crowd and the president's false claims that millions of illegal votes by undocumented immigrants swayed the popular vote against him.
Bannon, who rarely grants interviews to journalists outside of Breitbart News, the right-wing website he ran until August, was echoing comments by Trump this weekend, when the president said he was in "a running war" with the media and called journalists "among the most dishonest people on earth."
During a call to discuss Sean Spicer, the president's press secretary, Bannon ratcheted up the criticism, offering an indictment of the news media as out of touch with the American public.
"The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 per cent dead wrong," Bannon said of the election, calling it "a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there."
Of all of Trump's advisers in the White House, Bannon is the one tasked with implementing the nationalist vision that Trump channeled during the later months of the campaign, one that stemmed from Bannon.
On the telephone, Bannon spoke in blunt but calm tones, peppered with profanities, and humorously referred to himself at one point as "Darth Vader." He said, with ironic relish, that Trump was elected by a surge of support from "the working class hobbits and deplorables."