David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, announced in a statement that the New Yorker has disinvited Stephen Bannon from their annual New Yorker Festival. Remnick, known as a sharp and tough interviewer, was to interview to Bannon during the festival.
Bannon’s appearance was first reported by the New York Times on Monday morning. Other participants then tweeted their reaction with some dropping out and others saying they will not appear if Bannon is a part. Then on Monday evening, the New Yorker tweeted out a statement from Remnick that revealed Bannon would no longer be included.
“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,” Bannon said in a statement. “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.”
“The main argument for not engaging someone like Bannon is that we are giving him a platform and that he will use it, unfiltered, to propel further the ‘ideas’ of white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, and illiberalism,” Remnick wrote in a statement. “But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism’s leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity.”
“Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we’d be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism.”
Remnick argued that there is a benefit in interviewing those with controversial views. The person interviewed may not change their mind as a result of questioning, but the general public gains a better understanding of the person. For that reason, Remnick did not fully rule out interviewing Bannon in the future, “Our writers have interviewed Steve Bannon for The New Yorker before, and if the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.”