By: Joel B. Pollak
Monday’s editorial in USA Today likens White House Chief Strategist and former Breitbart News
Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS, or ISIL) terrorist “caliphate.”
The editorial argues that Bannon is like al-Baghdadi because both perceive a “clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.”
(The term “clash of civilizations” arises from a 1992 lecture by Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington.)
USA Today argues:
Each man spins a narrative for his followers of sprawling conflict between believers of Prophet Mohammed and followers of Jesus Christ. “There is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global,” Bannon warned an audience at the Vatican in 2014. A year later, Baghdadi said: “Oh Muslims … this war is only against you and against your religion.” Each man proselytizes for this vision of war. A decade ago, according to The Washington Post, Bannon outlined a movie proposal based on the fear that radical Muslims will overrun the U.S., turning it into the “Islamic States of America.”
Bannon and the ISIS leader, USA Today argues, are also similar because Bannon is a “populist” who “seeks to upend the establishment and thrives on chaos.” The editorial argues that the only way to hold Bannon in check is through “President Donald Trump’s out-of-control vanity,” which “could become a welcome force for peace” if he feels upstaged by Bannon and reduces his influence.
USA Today printed a short opposing view, written by Paul Miller of the Haym Salomon Center. He points out that USA Today itself conducted an “exhaustive” investigation of Bannon’s past radio broadcasts “only to find nothing” — none of the racism and antisemitism that the mainstream media had falsely concocted over the past several months.
Since 9/11, two administrations told the public, “Islam is peace.” President Obama refused to even acknowledge that Islam, which means “submission” or “surrender,” has anything to do with the wave of Muslim-perpetrated terrorism in Europe and creeping its way into the United States.
The Trump administration and Bannon do not mince words. And the fact that terrorism is uppermost on so many Americans’ minds indicates a compelling vote of confidence for Bannon and President Trump, although one would be hard-pressed to read that in the news media.
In 2016, USA Today made an exception to its policy of not endorsing presidential candidates, and told its readers not to vote for Trump, arguing that he was “unfit for the presidency.”