- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

Washington Post Defends Bookstore Owner After Confrontation With Steve Bannon

In the latest episode of anti-Trumpers attacking those who work or have worked for President Trump, a woman attacked Steve Bannon as he perused books in a small used bookstore in Richmond.

The Washington Post piece defended the act. [1]

“Bookstore owner defends calling police on woman who told Steve Bannon he was a ‘piece of trash,’” its headline read.

“Black Swan Books in Richmond bills itself as a quaint, welcoming place – ‘where old books meet new friends!’ – the type of local establishment where the most exciting thing to happen on any given day might be the acquisition of a rare hardcover.

“On Saturday afternoon, however, the independent bookstore in Virginia’s capital became the next stop in the roving battle over civility in politics, after a customer spotted former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon inside and confronted him.”

After hearing the woman berate Bannon and call him a “piece of trash,” the owner of the store told her to leave or he would call police. “I went to call the police and she left. And that’s the end of the story,” the owner, Nick Cooke, is quoted as saying.

“Cooke did not elaborate on Bannon’s history or relationship with the store,” the Post wrote [1]. And he did not respond to interview requests either. The Post does not tell us why the store should “elaborate on Bannon’s history or relationship with the store,” when all it had done was tell one customer to leave for harassing another who was “simply standing, looking at books, minding his own business,” the owner said.

But the Post did provide reason for the harassment. He’s for “an all-white state.” [1]

“Bannon, a prominent far-right figure and former executive chairman of Breitbart News Network, joined Trump’s presidential campaign a few months before the 2016 election,” wrote the Post’s Amy Wang. “During his time at Breitbart – which Bannon himself described as the platform for the alt-right, a far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state – published inflammatory headlines such as ‘Political Correctness Protects Muslim Race Culture,’ ‘Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy’ and ‘Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber. It’s Time To Get Back in the Closet,’ as Newsweek pointed out in a recent roundup.”

Bannon is pushing “his populist and nationalist agenda in speeches across Europe,” Wang wrote.

“’Let them call you racists,’ he said in an address to France’s far-right National Front party in mach. ‘Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists.’”

Bannon was not saying to be a racist, xenophobe or nativist, but simply pointing out these are political critiques that should not cause people to lose sight of ultimate policy goals.

Supporters quickly defended Bannon and the bookstore owner.

“Online, people described the incident as a ‘the opposite of the Red Hen,’ referring to a June 22 incident in which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a small restaurant in Lexington, Va., because of the restaurant owner and staff’s opposition to Trump and his policies. Soon the restaurant and other establishments across the country also named the Red Hen were receiving hateful messages and even death threats.”

But mostly, according to Wang, people turned on the bookstore owner.

“The reaction to Black Swan Books was swift. Several vowed to boycott the bookstore; one woman accused the owner of turning “the store into a safe place for white nationalists.”

It quoted a tweet from Bill Palmer, a virulent anti-Trumper with 190,000 followers [2], saying, “A woman peacefully confronted Steve Bannon at Black Swan Books in Richmond, Virginia. The owner of the store called the cops on her. Siding with a white supremacist like Bannon is a terrible business model. I predict Black Swan Books will be out of business soon.”