Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What most former students can't find in their recollections is the harshly divisive Steve Bannon they read about today. For two years, Bannon was educated by the top business professors in the country. In stadium-style rooms, he learned how to lead, how to market, and how to spot a business opportunity that could appeal to the masses. Interviews with more than two dozen of his former classmates illustrate that many view him as a brilliant thinker, even if they don't always agree with his politics.

He was gregarious. He was preppy, often dressed in a favorite yellow sweater. As one classmate put it, "He didn't strike me as out of the mainstream." Minorities in the class said he didn't make them feel uncomfortable. A Jewish classmate said he never heard him say anything anti-Semitic. "I don't think there's a racist bone in his body," said Thomas Meredith, who sat with Bannon in the skydeck.

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Bannon grew up in a working-class family living in Richmond. While home from Virginia Tech during summer breaks, he would spend long hours working at a local junkyard. "He would come home looking like a coal miner," said his younger brother, Chris. "Mom would make him strip down to his boxers and spray him off with a hose before he could come in."

After graduating from college, he joined the Navy, where he served on ships abroad before working at the Pentagon. While there, he earned a master's degree in national security studies from Georgetown University.

"As a woman, minority [Asian], an immigrant, and as onetime supporter of Hillary Clinton, I believe I can be objective in my assessment of Steve Bannon," Thai Lee said in an e-mail. "The Steve I knew in 1980's was a very smart, studious, and polite young man. I have never heard Steve speak ill of women, minorities, or others."

Scot Vorse, a flip-flop-wearing Californian who had never traveled east of Denver, was wandering around, feeling a little out of place. Listening to new classmates -- talking about McKinsey this and consulting firm that -- only further alienated him. Then, Bannon approached. He seemed to have a knack for looking after those who were younger, those who weren't sure they belonged.

Not long after introductions, Bannon asked Vorse to be in his study group, the beginning of a crucial relationship. The two men would grow extremely close, later working together at Goldman Sachs, forming their own financial firm, and joining forces at Breitbart. On election night, Vorse was one of those Bannon called.

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Vorse denied that his friend and business partner had any such divisive qualities, then or now. "This garbage never, ever came up" in class or later in their business career.

"Our clients were women, were Jewish, were Muslim, were Asian, were African-American, were Hispanic. My God. If they had a business that we could represent and do something, I don't care. He didn't care."

In that sense, the classmate said, they see Bannon now as the same brash and driven striver they saw 32 years ago when he joined their class.
"A lot of people give him credit for being the brains behind this political revolution, almost as if it's coming out of nowhere," the classmate said. "That's very consistent in the behavior I saw from Steve in the HBS environment.

Bannon seems like a smart guy who many in the media tried to bring down via character assassinations.
It will be interesting to see whether historians writing about this election in the years to come will conclude that it was Bannon who saved Donald Trump's presidential campaign during the autumn doldrums.

#1 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2016-11-30 10:21 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Bannon seems like a smart guy who many in the media tried to bring down via character assassinations.

#1 | Posted by GOnoles92 at

Give it a rest. We've seen his website.

#2 | Posted by Zed at 2016-11-30 10:30 AM | Reply

This article is a perfect example of how to talk to conservatives. Everyone should read it and take notes.

#3 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2016-11-30 11:11 AM | Reply

#3 - Usually I can follow you and agree - however there aren't conversations with conservatives noted in this article. There are conversations with people that knew Bannon 40 years ago without indication of their political leaning.

As to the article, it boils down to:
1) 40 years ago (1980) when he started college, Bannon was "a nice guy."
2) As he went through school he became more and more conservative.
3) The people from 40 years ago say what they've heard about Bannon now doesn't match the Bannon of 40 years ago.
4) The people from 40 years ago are asked to rationalize Bannon's behavior and resolve the cognitive dissonance for the Reporter.
5) They offer speculation that he's just taking advantage of a business opportunity.
6) Some seem to prefer believing that he hasn't changed, or prefer to ignore the possibility that he's become exactly what his media empire propagates.

My conclusion? He's changed from 40 years ago and he's found a market for hate. Whether he believes it, is a racist himself, or just loves making money off propagating it doesn't matter. He may have been OK 40 years ago, but he's scum now.

#4 | Posted by YAV at 2016-11-30 11:35 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Lots of people who've known mass shooters or serial killers when questioned often said they were nice guys, and that they couldn't believe the news about them as murderers.

Thread is not a good defense of Bannon.

#5 | Posted by LIVE_OR_DIE at 2016-11-30 12:12 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

If he wore preppy sweaters in the 1980s, he can't possibly be a racist and anti-Semite today.

Just like your old buddy from high school who you end up unfriending on Facebook when he spreads racist Obama memes.

#6 | Posted by rcade at 2016-11-30 12:33 PM | Reply

Lots of people who've known mass shooters or serial killers when questioned often said they were nice guys POSTED BY LIVE_OR_DIE

By that premise, it seems like anyone who has ever had another person complement their character is possibly one bad day away from unleashing mass murder.
/sarc

#7 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2016-11-30 12:37 PM | Reply

#7 | Posted by GOnoles92

Bannon identifies with neo-Nazi ideologies. He's braged about it.

The next for years are really going to be some people denying what's before their own lying eyes, right?

#8 | Posted by Zed at 2016-11-30 12:46 PM | Reply

"Bannon identifies with neo-Nazi ideologies. He's braged about it."

Yes, also unicorns make wonderful coat racks, i have caught several and keep them in my hallway.

Eh, blatantly lying is no fun, you can do it by yourself.

#9 | Posted by salamandagator at 2016-11-30 01:04 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Bannon called his site Breitbart News the mouthpiece of the alt-right. The alt-right is a white nationalist movement. Connect the dots.

#10 | Posted by rcade at 2016-11-30 02:19 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

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Eh, blatantly lying is no fun, you can do it by yourself.

#9 | Posted by salamandagator at

Please see the post immediately above.

Also please read Breitbart. And say hello to Pepe the Frog when you get there, He wants to know you better.

#11 | Posted by Zed at 2016-11-30 04:03 PM | Reply

#9 | POSTED BY SALAMANDAGATOR
"Yes, also unicorns make wonderful coat racks"

Clearly you've never used a unicorn as a coat rack.

#12 | Posted by TheTom at 2016-11-30 05:44 PM | Reply

#4 | POSTED BY YAV AT 2016-11-30 11:35 AM | FLAG:

The between-the-lines story is a dog whistle to cons. Almost every line is something that makes gono cream her panties.

#13 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2016-11-30 06:51 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

File that under "how the Press is an unaware enabler."

#14 | Posted by YAV at 2016-11-30 07:00 PM | Reply

My conclusion? He's changed from 40 years ago and he's found a market for hate.

#4 | Posted by YAV

You are entitled to your STOOPID opinion.

#15 | Posted by Sniper at 2016-12-01 03:30 PM | Reply

You are entitled to your STOOPID opinion.

Posted by Sniper at 2016-12-01 03:30 PM | Reply

Coming from you it holds no weight.

#16 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2016-12-01 03:32 PM | Reply

You are entitled to your STOOPID opinion.

Obviously.

#17 | Posted by YAV at 2016-12-01 06:27 PM | Reply

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