Steven Bannon is a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, he is a closeted white supremacist glaring at the Constitution with glowing red eyes; however, to others he is a champion for free speech and a sword against the progressive left. Liberals and conservatives have broadly different opinions (as they usually do) on the man, but with the recent anointing of Bannon to the recently created office of “White House Chief Strategist,” the voice and presence of Bannon cannot go easily dismissed by anyone.
Bannon received a sizeable amount of publicity when he was a founding member and, until August 2016, held an executive position for Breitbart News, an outlet notoriously heralded by some as a “platform for the alt-right” and by others as simply a “conservative news site.” Some have considered Bannon to be popular only due to his publishing of “racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material,” however, Bannon can be more objectively defined as a Traditionalist ideologue with anti-Enlightenment convictions, and strong supporter of Western chauvinism. Unfortunately, the former definition is often conflated with the latter in the contemporary socio-political landscape.
When Bannon was appointed as the executive director of Donald Trump’s political campaign in August 2016, there were mountains of outraged tweets and Facebook statuses. Despite the fact that multiple Jewish leaders such as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and the Zionist Organization of America have defended Bannon from allegations of anti-Semitism, many have continued to misconstrue Bannon as implicitly anti-Semitic. Mostly due to the Anti-Defamation League smearing him wrongly as an anti-Semite.
No shit, Gorka is an anti-Semite, like Bannon. They're a bunch of bigots occupying the White House. Is the new Chief of Staff going to care? https://t.co/zz4K9CjeJg
— Amie Wexler (@am_wex) August 1, 2017
Steve Bannon hates Jews.
— Jeff Mandell (@wheetbix) July 14, 2017
For the most part, Bannon has taken to the shadows, save for some participation in the drafting of Executive Order 13769, which restricted immigration to the United States. Much hype by the progressive left regarding Bannon as a totalitarian nut job hell-bent on eradicating non-Aryans from Western civilization has yet to be seen.
But, adherents to far-right ideologies currently have a fellow in the White House, capable of supporting anti-progressive movements. But, despite his recent appointment as “The Most Powerful Man in the World,” according to TIME, Bannon has seemingly done nothing of great importance since his appointment and it does not seem as if he intends to radically change the direction of the United States anytime soon.
Or is he?
There is word on the street, and by “street,” we mean “internet,” that Bannon is quietly marshalling resources to introduce legislation to make Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and social media outlets into public utilities, thus putting an end to the dreaded zucc. This would lead to federally-imposed restrictions on these outlets’ terms of service to put an end to the censorship of “hate speech,” a phenomenon that has perpetrated almost every major social media network. YouTube, for instance, has recently partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to “bring expert knowledge of complex issues like hate speech, radicalization, and terrorism that will help us better identify content that is being used to radicalize and recruit extremists.”
Such content will “remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetized, and won’t have key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes,” according to YouTube’s official blog.
This has led the relative censorship of anti-leftist, anti-progressivist, anti-Muslim videos on the basis of such content promoting “radicalization” or “extremism.” Even the recently championed hero of YouTube intellectualism, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, found that he was forbidden to upload news content on August 1, 2017.
It is possible that Bannon, a famous proponent of free speech, is working to prevent instances of censorship as evidenced above. Three anonymous sources, claiming to have discussed the matter with Bannon, have been cited by The Intercept. According to these sources, Bannon’s basic argument “is that Facebook and Google have become effectively a necessity in contemporary life.” Therefore, such outlets should be treated as utilities. The details are all speculative at this point, but it is possible that further developments will be illuminated as YouTube continues to invite anti-far-right organizations to monitor its content.
The utilization on these social media platforms does not equate to confiscating the ownership of these companies and placing them cozily in the pocket of the government. Bannon does not expect for these companies to be “seized,” but only to be restricted in regards to what sort of policies can be implemented, as recent actions by social media groups have led to the discrimination of far-right ideologues in unofficially public venues.
Will Bannon actually take action and end the “zucc”? Is this what he has been plotting in the shadows for the last several months? Only time will tell.