The Death of the Media
The New Yorker Festival is an annual event in which cultural influencers from celebrities to academics appear at venues scattered around Manhattan to pontificate and bloviate, and preen in the spotlight. The New Yorker editor David Remnick himself usually interviews these bright lights in the big city. The Festival both announces new public intellectuals arrival on the scene, and promotes and reinforces their ideas in what is arguably the center of the media universe. In other words, the New Yorker Festival is a Big Deal to the media whiz-kids and their patrons.
It all started when Remnick sought out Steve Bannon for a podcast interview. Bannon was difficult to book, so a producer for The New Yorker Festival pitched an on-stage interview with Remnick.
And so inticed, Bannon was booked! “Steve Bannon Headlines New Yorker Festival” .
So what could go wrong?
High-profile speakers like Judd Apatow, Jim Carrey, and Patton Oswalt, already booked for the event revolted, some of them publicly via Twitter. Seriously, who in their right mind would want to be on the same star billing as an actual Nazi? New Yorker staffers, editors, writers protested too!
Remnick pulled the plug and uninvited Bannon via a phone call to Bannon and sent a memo to staffers. Remnick said that “if the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.” (Shorter Remnick: “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!,” you know, with him in the Britney role.)
What is incredible is that The New Yorker would invite Bannon in the first place, especially for something like this. It’s not just this is a celebrity studded event, but it is an event about ideas. The idea of Nazi-ism was pretty well-covered in the last century, so one shudders to consider what new thoughts Bannon would bring to the topic.
Anyway, now the Conservative Rage Machine has a new target. This was a win/win for Bannon:
“After being contacted several months ago and with seven weeks of continual requests for this event, I accepted The New Yorker’s invitation with no thought of an honorarium. The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation. In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”
Remnick said, “to interview Bannon is not to endorse him,” which is utter bullshit. You don’t give a Nazi a bullhorn, anymore than you give Candidate Trump $9B Ameros worth of free advertising the Morning Joe cable teevee show during the 2016 Goat Rodeo just to see what happens. Oh, wait.
Anyway, I thought last night’s post needed some more background.