Free speech and Steve Bannon's New Yorker and Four Corners' controversies

New Yorker makes embarrassing climb down and CANCELS Steve Bannon's festival appearance

The New Yorker Disinvites Steve Bannon From Festival After Twitter Uproar

President Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon was uninvited to the New Yorker Festival, where he was scheduled to headline, the New York Times reported.

The decision to invite Bannon was denounced by Jim Carrey, Roxane Gay, Jessica Valenti, John Mulaney, Judd Apatow, and other public figures, with many threatening to withdraw from the New Yorker festival. "Sorry, @NewYorker. See if Milo Yiannopoulos is free?" a reference to the far-right writer and speaker whose memoir was dropped previous year by Simon & Schuster after numerous complaints.

UPDATE: Remnick made an additional statement to readers about cancelling the interview, which you can read in full below as well.

News of Bannon's role sparked "a day of thoughtful, open, angry conversations" among The New Yorker's staff, according to the magazine's Adam Davidson, who said that while he agreed with the decision to yank Bannon from the program, "it has been painful, even maddening, to see the personalized outrage at David".


Quoting the magazine's founder, James Wilson, Beddoes described how its longstanding mission was to take part in "a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress".

I hope the New Yorker will do the right thing and cancel the Steve Bannon event. "In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob", he said. And staff members at the New Yorker also publicly objected.

Most people who would attend the New Yorker Festival know where they stand on the ideas proposed by Bannon.

Now, I'm under no illusion that a tough interview with David Remnick would change Steve Bannon's mind, but I am of the opinion that more understanding about the world is always better than less.


"I've changed my mind", Remnick said.

He added that the magazine had interviewed Bannon before and would do so again if the opportunity arose "in a more traditionally journalistic setting" rather than on stage.

"I don't want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I've ignored their concerns", he said. "I'm not going to congratulate the New Yorker for rescinding an invitation that should have never been offered or for believing there was valuable intellectual insight to be gained from a polite conversation w/ a fascist or leaving the door open to a future interview with Bannon". By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism's leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist, said in a letter published Tuesday on its site that in recent months the media outlet has solicited contributions from a range of people - including those "with whose views we agree and disagree" - in the run-up to its "Open Future" festival, set for September 15 in Hong Kong, London and NY.


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