Crikey readers had a strong reaction to the recent furore surrounding the Steve Bannon free-speech-no-platforming circus (covered yesterday by both Helen Razer, who found his Four Corners interview contemptible, and Guy Rundle, who saw the recent controversies as being a problem outside of the free speech debate). As usual, readers found different corners of the issue to interrogate.
On the Steve Bannon interview and free speech
Les Sage writes: I only watched half of the Bannon interview and what I took away was what I already knew. Giving the workforce and the new generation a permanently bad deal eventually results in a social explosion. It is not helpful to get distracted by the sorts of people that come to the surface before the crisis erupts. They are the noise. Look for the global patterns.
Arky writes: Actual Nazis are glorying in being able to share, across social media, material from an actual trusted outlet like the ABC in which Bannon and his ideology are treated with more respect than they give to the average centrist or, god forbid, left wing politician. The interview, ABC news headlines and reports of the interview, all bending over backwards to show him respect. But don’t dare criticise them or you want “silos” and “enclaves” and you’re a censoring fascist (curiously, criticisms the same journos don’t seem interested in throwing at the likes of Breitbart).
Ruv Draba writes: I agree: it seems a weak interview. I don’t blame the ABC for conducting it because it is topical, but any examination of populist policy substance needs to take the form of debate. As a single-subject episode, I think it needed to be a character study — anything else would likely fail.
John of Alphington writes: I actually found the interview worthwhile, myself. History is happening fast now, and so nice to get a snap of one of the passing parade of players in real time. But I guess I’m the type who would’ve insisted on people shutting up so I could hear what that chap in the bierhalle had to say. Agree it’s not about freedom of speech. It’s more about staying informed. Nosce hostem.
Neil hauxwell writes: To be fair, it looked mightily hard to actually ask Bannon a question. He’s taken Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” and built a Great Wall of Verbiage. As a well-oiled turd, he’s impossible to restrain long enough to actually argue with and he’s highly skilled in diversionary herring-throwing, each of about 300 time consuming words, and meshed in a maze of dubious connections requiring another 350 to clarify.
Toby Ralph writes: I want interviews that tell me what people think and say, not gotcha moments, but seem to be an orphan.
(the other) HR Nicholls writes: Bannon, this useless double-shirt-wearing blubber sack, has been totally irrelevant since Trump turfed him: went back to Breitbart, got canned there, went to Europe to rabble-rouse all the Wilders-style nativists, got owned, slunk off. Now he gets a platform on Four Corners which could be addressing any number of actual issues relevant to this country! Razer’s column today addressed him as the bag of shit he is.
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