The self-destruction of Steve Bannon is a terrific story but not an important story. That is, for those of us who love politics for its Shakespearean revelation of character on the grand stage, it’s an amazing farewell-to-all-my-greatness moment. But if you are concerned about the threats to liberty at home and abroad, the prosperity of our fellow Americans and allies, and the positive developments — like fresh space exploration — that might emerge from a new American century, well, Steve don’t matter much. Or at all.
But Bannon’s fall, and the scandal-mongering book that helped it along — Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House — do underscore one thing of real importance: our mainstream journalists are genuinely awful. They will sell any narrative they can to keep from selling the one that seems increasingly likely to be true: Trump is smarter than they are and doing a better job than the last two presidents combined.
Consider this “bombshell” from the book. Bannon thinks Don Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was “treasonous,” and that “the chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-fifth floor is zero.” It’s a fascinating comment, because it indicates that Bannon so miscalculated his power and political acumen that he thought he could knock down the central pillar of his prestige — Trump’s friendship — and survive with his career intact. But it has no factual or evidentiary weight. Bannon wasn’t at the meeting and didn’t even join the campaign until August 2016. So he’s just another guy with an opinion — and a guy whose opinions tend to be overblown and melodramatic at that.