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Francis Wilkinson

Steve Bannon's Preposterous 'Rosebud' Moment

A populist's dramatic tale ends in tears for the little people.
Elevator pitch.

Elevator pitch.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House strategist Steve Bannon understands how narrative works. In Hollywood films, at least the assembly-line models, plot points are inserted to send the hero off on a quest and, later, to send the action veering in an unexpected (well, sort of) new direction. They explain the hero to himself and others, give him a goal and erect obstacles (drama!) in the path of achieving it.

Bannon, who made documentary films before becoming chairman of the propaganda website Breitbart, has offered reporters his own plot point to explain how a multimillionaire Harvard Business School graduate and Goldman Sachs alumnus acquired his "fiery populism."