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Right-wing media figures lash out, call for retribution following news of Steve Bannon going to prison

Charlie Kirk: “They're trying to take Steve Bannon out of the election”

Right-wing media figures were immediately outraged following the news Thursday afternoon that War Room host and close Trump ally Steve Bannon was ordered by a D.C. judge to report to prison on July 1. Bannon was found guilty on two charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a House Select Committee subpoena investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Soon after the news broke Thursday, allies of Bannon began rehashing familiar attacks against the judicial system and the right’s supposed political enemies, similar to the right-wing media outrage that followed the felony conviction of former President Donald Trump.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, and on their own programs, conservative media personalities have shown their support for Bannon while also leveraging the news into a call to action for conservatives to “fight” and join in “a spiritual battle” against a system they claim has been hijacked by Democratic interests who want to “jail their political opponents.”

  • Declaring: “I stand with Steve Bannon”

  • Numerous right-wing figures posted their support of Bannon with messages stating, “I stand with Bannon” or otherwise expressing support for him:

    • The Post Millennial: “'I stand with Steve Bannon': Conservatives sound off on 'death of judicial system' after conservative star ordered to jail by Biden regime.” [The Post Millennial, 6/6/24]

    • Former Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie: “Bannon is a warrior- one of the best.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Right-wing influencer Catturd: “ I stand with Steve Bannon.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • MAGA personality Tanya Tay Posobiec: “I stand with Steve Bannon!” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Post Millennial editor-in-chief Libby Emmons: “I stand with Steve Bannon.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • CPAC chair and right-wing personality Matt Schlapp posted a video with the caption “We stand with Steve Bannon." In the video, Schlapp went on to say, “This is a spiritual battle we’re in. We’re up against some tough mothers who are trying to destroy each one of us and civilization, destroy our families, destroy everything that makes people happy. We’re going to beat them and it’s going to start in November.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Center for Renewing America’s Kingsley Wilson: “I STAND WITH STEVE BANNON. Pray for our enemies, because we have not yet begun to fight.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

  • Fearmongering that the legal system will be weaponized against MAGA media and Trump supporters

  • Online and in right-wing programming, conservative figures are pointing to Bannon’s prison time as a warning to other conservatives. In a manner reminiscent of the reaction to Trump’s conviction, right-wing media figures have fearmongered the federal government, and specifically the Biden administration, will individually target conservatives for their political views.

    • On Infowars, far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones made the comparison between Bannon and Trump, announcing, “They're going for everybody.” Mentioning Bannon alongside the recently arrested CFO of the Epoch Times (Jones mistakenly referred to him as the CEO.) Jones said, “They're getting rid of all the chess pieces. They are launching the assault now." [Infowars, The Alex Jones Show, 6/6/24; The Washington Post, 6/4/24]

    • State Freedom Caucus Communications Director Greg Price posted about Trump being “convicted of a made up crime,” and said that Bannon was “ordered to jail for being held in contempt by a sham congressional committee.” Price added, “They're coming for all of us. [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • On X, reacting to the news, far-right YouTuber Tim Pool wrote, “It will get worse.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Libs of TikTok, a right-wing anti-LGBTQ account, warned, “They sent pro-lifers to prison. Now they’re sending Bannon to prison. Then they’re gonna send Trump to prison. Realize where we’re at.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Real America’s Voice host Wayne Allyn Root posted on X that the “Communist takeover continues” and compared Bannon’s order to report to prison to Nazi Germany “jailing your political opposition & censuring conservative truth tellers.” He added, “Trump, Bannon, Navarro, J6ers. Who's next? Soon, no one left to oppose communist thug Obama.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Right-wing social media personality Mike Cernovich claimed that “the unlawful imprisonment of Steve Bannon is designed to simultaneously demoralized and enrage.” Cernovich also baselessly called the attempted kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a “hoax.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

  • Suggesting Bannon’s pending incarceration is “direct election interference”

  • The announcement of Bannon’s future stint in prison also sparked rhetoric from right-wing media figures suggesting that it is an attempt to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.

    • On his show, Charlie Kirk claimed that “they're trying to take Steve Bannon out of the election.” [Salem Media, The Charlie Kirk Show, 6/6/24]

    • On X, Kirk said in regard to Bannon that “This willl go all the way up to the election. Direct election interference.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec posted that “The regime has just ordered Bannon to be sent to federal prison for the rest of the 2024 election. Trump himself will be sentenced next month,” adding, “Understand what time it is.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Deputy editor of the right-wing publication The National Pulse Jack Montgomery said that Bannon had been “lawfared out of the election campaign,” calling him “one of the biggest America First voices other than Trump himself.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Right-wing Trump influencer Catturd responded to the news by saying that “The Commie Democrats lawfare continues.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Jim DeMint, Chairman of the Conservative Partnership Institute posted on X calling the news “Outrageous” and said that “Radical progressive Democrats will continue to jail their political opponents until Republicans find the courage to stop them.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

  • Calls for action and retribution

  • In responses to the news about the War Room host, some in the conservative media echo chamber called for action and retribution against “Biden Democrats” and “the other side."

    • Article III Project’s Mike Davis posted on social media, “Dear Biden Democrats: Your glee will turn into terror after January 20, 2025. Revenge is best served cold. Lawyer up.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Posobiec said on his show Human Events, “We are going to do things that have never been done before.” He added, “If the other side wins, they’re going to put us all in the gulags.” Posobiec also posted a “list of Republicans who voted to hold Steve in contempt, which led to his prison sentence today” alongside a list of names of congresspeople. [Real America’s Voice, Human Events with Jack Posobiec, 6/6/24; Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

  • Claims that the judicial system and the rule of law are compromised or a “sham”

  • Conservatives online have attempted to shift the narrative of ongoing or recently settled cases involving Trump-related individuals by baselessly claiming the justice system is unfair towards conservatives.

    • Greg Price claimed the January 6 select committee was “illegitimately formed” and claimed, without providing evidence, that it “deleted records, hid evidence, and smeared innocent people. Now Bannon is going to jail for being held in contempt by that sham of a committee.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called Bannon’s prison order an indication of “the death of the judicial system in America.” He went on to claim “they’re sending him to prison - not just to torture him but to torture us,” and said that “He didn’t even get a real trial. His defenses were stripped by a judge who hates him.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • Former U.S. assistant attorney general and unindicted Trump co-conspirator Jeffrey Clark: “For the Biden Administration, if this stands, it’s mission accomplished: Take Bannon out for close to the full span of the run up to the 2024 presidential election.” Going on, Clark called on the Supreme Court to intervene in this attempt to shut down a key voice before the election.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

  • Comparisons to Hunter Biden, Anthony Fauci, Merrick Garland

  • Another way right-wing personalities and pundits are framing this news is by making bad faith comparisons to their political enemies for alleged wrongdoings that they claim are similar, particularly those of Hunter Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. 

    • Libs of TikTok posted on X that “Steve Bannon was just ordered to prison for ignoring a Congressional subpeona. Hunter Biden ignored a subpeona for months and wasn’t sentenced to prison.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • The right-wing X account End Wokeness wrote that “A judge just sent Steve Bannon to prison for ignoring a congressional subpoena. Hunter did the same thing. No prison. Fauci lied under oath. No prison.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • The right-wing site Citizen Free Press also made comparisons to other individuals, writing, “Merrick Garland faces charges of criminal contempt for ignoring a congressional subpoena on the Biden Dementia Tapes. Peter Navarro is sitting in Miami prison on the same charge. Steve Bannon is facing 4 months in jail for the same charge.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • On X, Catturd claimed that “Hunter did the same thing as Steve Bannon and nothing happened.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    • The Trump-defending right-wing internet duo the Hodgetwins called the system “rigged” and posted that “Hunter Biden defied a subpoena from Republicans and nothing happened. Steve Bannon defied a subpoena from Democrats and is going to jail for 4 months.” [Twitter/X, 6/6/24]

    In keeping with other cases against Trump and his inner circle, there have been a handful of attacks against the judge presiding over the case, with Bannon ally Julie Kelly suggesting the judge and the D.C. court system are “corrupt and compromised.” Judge Carl Nichols was appointed by Trump, previously clerked for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and has contributed to the right-wing legal network The Federalist Society.