Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has claimed that his podcast, “Bannon War Room,” has racked up 29 million streams to date, even after he was removed from Twitter and YouTube, according to ProPublica.
Bannon, an ally of former President Donald Trump, hosts the show which goes out several times a day, ProPublica reported.
In recent weeks, he has spent hours exploring spurious claims of widespread election fraud on the show, claiming the rightful winner was Trump, according to the outlet.
According to ProPublica, he also hyped the January 6 “Save America” protest — at which Trump encouraged supporters to march on the Capitol. Soon after the rally, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election, resulting in the deaths of five people.
“It’s all converging, and now we’re on the point of attack tomorrow. It’s going to kick off, it’s going to be very dramatic,” ProPublica quoted Bannon as saying the night before.
The Apple Podcasts app is increasingly important to his show’s reach. Bannon was permanently suspended from Twitter in November 2020, after he said on the podcast that the top infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci should be beheaded.
YouTube also barred him from its platform on January 9, three days after the Capitol riot.
In November, Facebook also deleted numerous pages with ties to Bannon for spreading false claims of election fraud, but stopped short of barring him from the platform.
Despite this reining-in of Bannon, he claimed on his show that it has had 29 million downloads to date.
Apple, which does not make download figures public, did not immediately respond to a request for information confirming this figure.
Recent guests on the “Bannon War Room” include Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer of Trump, who in his appearance placed unsubstantiated blame on Democrats for the Capitol riot, and said that “Trump people” did not scale the building’s walls, ProPublica reported.
Other guests include Raheem Kassam — a former editor at the right-wing news site Breitbart, where Bannon previously served as executive chairman, the conspiracy-theorist Jack Posobiec, and the former Trump advisor Peter Navarro, according to the podcast’s episode listings.
After being deplatformed by YouTube, the show’s description has latched onto that status as a question of freedom of speech.
“While YouTube has taken us off their platform, broad censorship mandates for any channel discussing the election, the country, and our freedom, seems to be in question,” it reads.
In listing a show, Apple does not “host” podcasts in the same way YouTube hosts videos. Instead, the podcast app is an indexing system that makes it possible for people to find a show using keywords — much more akin to a Google search.
Apple’s terms of service for podcasts forbid “misleading” content, although the rule appears only to apply to false attempts to mimic “popular content or search terms.”
Apple Podcasts is far from the only podcasting service available, but is nonetheless responsible for more than half of podcast downloads in the world, far outstretching its nearest competitor Spotify.
Bannon was estranged from Trump after he was fired from his White House position in 2017.
In August 2020, Bannon was arrested on a luxury boat and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering in his role in We Build the Wall, a campaign designed to use private donations to fund the US-Mexico border wall. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
But he appeared to restore his ties with Trump after the 2020 presidential election, and is said to have advised the then-president how to overturn the results of the election.
Trump also pardoned Bannon on January 19, 2021 — his last full day in office — citing Bannon’s contribution to conservative politics.
Neither Apple nor Bannon immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment.
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