Over the past couple of weeks, this photo of Trump advisor Steve Bannon has been popping up on social media. Anthony Bourdain even tweeted that he thought Bannon might have syphilis. And whether Bourdain is joking or not, plenty of people think the photo is real. But it’s totally fake.
Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart who has quickly risen to power in Washington, has come under fire for being the architect of many of the Trump regime’s most heinous policies. And with the criticism of Bannon has come plenty of unflattering photoshops. But sometimes it’s hard to tell which ones are photoshopped and which ones are real.
As you can see from the photos below, the photo on the left has been altered. The original is on the right, and was taken by photographer Jonathan Ernst in the Oval Office on January 28, 2017 for Reuters.
It’s easy to tell that it was photoshopped when you see the images side by side. But the image has spread far enough that it’s safe to say plenty of people think it might be real. When I first saw the photo I definitely did a double take. [Update, 11:18am: The original creator of the photoshop was Vic Berger IV on Twitter. His followers probably got the joke. But it quickly spread everywhere without context.]
Making fun of someone’s appearance is, of course, not very nice. But the internet’s fascination with Bannon’s mug has a lot to do with Bannon’s worldview, which is undeniably racist. Bannon, as editor of Breitbart, oversaw a website that had a “Black Crime” section, and told his ex-wife that he didn’t want his children going to school with Jews.
Bannon’s “boss,” Mr. Donald J. Trump has his own obsession with genetics and being born with certain superior genes, often comparing humans to racehorses in the past to explain his theories.
“I’m a gene believer... hey when you connect two race horses you get usually end up with a fast horse,” Trump told an interviewer on CNN in 2010. “I had a good gene pool from the stand point of that so I was pretty much driven.”