The Real ‘Bad Hombres’ — Dish Network and Steve Bannon are the ones taking away democracy

Steve Bannon arrested and charged with fraud

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

We’ve finally found the “bad hombres” that Trump was so concerned about during the 2016 debates, and they are being beamed straight into your grandma’s television set.

Dish Network is pumping Americans’ brains full of conspiracy theories, hateful rhetoric, and violent threats by giving known racist Steve Bannon and the Real America’s Voice network a platform. According to the Washington Post, Bannon’s show, War Room, can be watched in “as many as 8 million homes hooked up to Dish satellite television, many in rural, conservative areas without reliable cable coverage.”

Bannon has been kicked off YouTube, Spotify, and Twitter for vile things that spill out from his lips. But Dish has no problem making sure Real America’s Voice network is available to all of its customers: the network can be found on all of Dish’s packages — even the basic one.

Steve Bannon

To quote Ben Shapiro (something I never want to do again!), “Bannon is a legitimately sinister figure.”

Shapiro worked as a writer and editor at the extremist site Breitbart News where Bannon was executive chairman at the time. Shapiro claimed the employees of the right-wing site were afraid of Bannon, “He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies.”

Bannon left Breitbart to run Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 using his VP role at Cambridge Analytica to spread disinformation about Hillary Clinton. Trump took Bannon with him all the way to the White House where he played the role of chief strategist. According to Jeff Taylor of Street Sense Media, it was really Bannon pulling the strings all along:

Bannon has a very significant following. Ideologically speaking, long before Trump came on the scene, there was Steve Bannon. Bannon is not a vessel for Trumpism. Trump is the vessel for Bannonism. He’s malevolent and quite intelligent, possessing a Harvard degree. He knows just what buttons to push to keep his minions foaming at the mouth.

After his “mutually agreed” upon exit from the Trump administration, Bannon did not fade away into the ether. Instead of keeping a low profile, he siphoned off a million dollars from the We Build the Wall fundraising campaign. Bannon used hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal expenses from the cash donated by Trump’s loyal followers — donors who assumed the money would be going to support Trump’s border wall. (Bannon’s two cohorts in the scheme just pled guilty, but Bannon was pardoned by Trump — so he’ll remain unscathed.)

Bannon also spent plenty of time making content and spreading misinformation about the 2020 Presidential election — misinformation that got him kicked off YouTube. He was removed from Twitter, however, for discussing violence against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci. “I’d put their heads on pikes,” Bannon said in a 2020 episode of his podcast.

In 2021, Bannon made headlines again when he was indicted by a federal grand jury for his refusal to cooperate with the Jan 6 investigation. Bannon ignored the subpoenas from the House committee and refused to turn over requested documents.

The War Room

Bannon’s show, War Room Pandemic, has been steadily riling up the alt-right for years — from spreading COVID misinformation to bragging about the insurrection.  “Seize The Day. We’re ashamed of nothing. We’re proud of the work we did on January 6th,” was the sentiment on the days leading up to the incident’s first anniversary.

The War Room’s listeners consider Biden’s presidency illegitimate, think that COVID vaccine deaths are being covered up, and are hoping to strip Democrats of their seats in an election landslide. Bannon is breeding “quasi-Christian nationalism” and is using his platform to push MAGA candidates’ midterm campaigns.

Real America’s Voice Network

Getting kicked off of YouTube, Twitter, and Spotify limited the reach of Bannon’s War Room, but it found a snug little home on Real America’s Voice Network. RAV is owned by Robert Sigg, a man with a shady past and a son who was sentenced to life in prison after dismembering a young girl.

Sigg has over a dozen arrests stemming back to 1983 ranging from DUI to assault. He was also convicted for his part in a mortgage fraud scheme in 2006 where he attempted to “obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus mortgages and multi-million-dollar lines of credit.”

According to the Washington Post,  Sigg probably owes over $235,000 in federal taxes.

But the owner’s dubious past is not the only issue with the RAV. The network’s bread and butter comes from fringe media personalities pushing conspiracy theories and alt-right rhetoric.

Media Matters found the network’s hosts to directly endorse QAnon theories to viewers. (The movement’s main theory is that satan-worshipping pedophiles run the world and Trump was recruited by the military to win the presidential election and take them down.)

Dish Network

And who do we have to thank for providing the country with the criminal-led network airing the democracy-damaging show whose host is a known white supremacist? Did you say Dish Network? Ding ding ding! Unfortunately, we’re all losers though.

Before you fall into shock and awe at Dish’s audacity, remember this isn’t their first contemptible rodeo. Long before the network started beaming Steve Bannon to millions of American homes, they were scheming $3.25 billion from taxpayer pockets. The New York Times called the company’s use of obscure legal provisions and loopholes “the most brazen, least civic-minded act[s] by a corporation in years.”

Dish is working hard to persuade the FCC to help make its spectrum holdings even more profitable through the use of a “sock puppet coalition.” The coalition includes several of the network’s business partners, a Koch Industries-backed company, and Dish-backed nonprofits.

If you need even more reason to dump Dish, the company also spent years overcharging Colorado customers, violated FCC telemarketer rules, and illegally disposed of hazardous waste. Oh, and they were voted one of “America’s Worst Companies to Work For” in 2012, after firing a quadriplegic employee for using medical marijuana during his off-work hours.

So…What Can You Do?

Be an activist with your dollars. Quit using your money to fund Real America’s Voice and helping Steve Bannon destroy democracy. Tell Dish Network to drop RAV — or better yet, stop paying for Dish Network altogether.

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