News & Politics

WATCH: Bannon's Astonishing Rise to Power, from Small-Time Propagandist to White House Consigliere

"The Empire Files" exposes Trump's right-hand man, the "Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement."

Steve Bannon is the brain behind President Donald Trump, and he is nothing short of a right-wing extremist.

In a new film for her TeleSUR program, The Empire Files, journalist Abby Martin exposes Trump's chief strategist and his history of fanaticism, bigotry and profiteering.

"Steve Bannon has been propelled over the last year from fringe media outlier to top propagandist of the U.S. empire as Trump's chief strategist," according to The Empire Files. "From his Wall Street roots and apocalyptic film career to his cultivation of alt-right bigots at Breitbart News, Abby Martin exposes Bannon's true character in this explosive documentary."

Bannon, who served as CEO of Trump's presidential campaign, honed his skills as the head of the far-right website Breitbart News. He proudly described the network as the "platform for the alt-right," the white supremacist movement led by neo-fascists like Richard Spencer.

The Empire Files details how Bannon cut his teeth making hard-right propaganda films. These works led Andrew Breitbart to describe him as the "Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement." 

Ultra-conservative pundit Glenn Beck compared Bannon to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's right-hand man and chief propagandist.

The Empire Files documentary, which was produced and co-written by Mike Prysner, delves into Bannon's ideology of self-declared "economic nationalism," a euphemism for his distinct brand of fascism. It explains how Bannon — a former employee of notorious "vampire squid" bank Goldman Sachs — scapegoats Muslims, migrants, leftists, and so-called "globalists" for the problems caused by the global capitalist system and its endless wars.

Julia Jones, Bannon's former Hollywood writing partner and close friend, recalled, "Steve is a strong militarist, he's in love with war — it’s almost poetry to him."

AlterNet has previously reported on Bannon's affinity for white supremacist thinkers, and his clash-of-civilizations worldview, which pits the white Christian West in an apocalyptic war against the forces of Islam, secularism, socialism, and multiculturalism.

Martin concludes the film with a rallying cry, observing, "The fact that someone like Steve Bannon could attain such a high seat of power shows how illegitimate the system really is."

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He was a reporter for AlterNet's Grayzone Project. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton, and his personal website is

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