The Wall Street Journal editorial board took aim at the Trump White House on Tuesday, calling out chief strategist Steve Bannon for fueling infighting aimed at new chief of staff John Kelly and others.
“[N]otice the alt-right brigades who seem to rise up as if on call to smite some White House policy opponent of aide Steve Bannon,” the paper wrote, adding: “The former Breitbart publisher has been a White House survivor, but his warring habits have also been responsible for much of the White House dysfunction.”
“Mr. Trump may worry about the damage Mr. Bannon and his allies could do to his Administration if he is no longer part of the White House team,” the editorial concluded. “But if his minions continue to vilify his colleagues inside the White House, how can anyone tell the difference?”
The rebuke of Bannon — and, more notably, of Trump’s leadership — comes after reports that media properties owned by conservative mogul Rupert Murdoch, including the Journal, have soured on Trump, despite the pair’s reportedly active phone habit.
Murdoch’s properties still strongly embrace the fringe elements of Trump economic and political support. In a May 31 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, for example, Blackwater founder Erik Prince made the argument for an “East India Company approach” of privatizing the war in Afghanistan (and likely enriching himself).
And Fox News’ coverage of Democratic staffer Seth Rich’s murder — which conspiracists allege was the result of Rich leaking internal communications to Wikileaks — has prompted even more calls in the UK for further scrutiny of Murdoch’s proposed purchase of Sky Television.