Steve Bannon claims he's getting millions of streams for his podcast, which is banned from YouTube and Twitter but still listed by Apple

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Mia Jankowicz
·4 min read
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GettyImages 1228128834
Steve Bannon leaving a federal court in Manhattan. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon claims his podcast is listened to millions of times.

  • He was delisted from Twitter and YouTube, but people can still find him on Apple's podcast app.

  • His show has hyped false election claims and encouraged Trump protesters before the Capitol breach.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has claimed that his podcast, "Bannon's 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 suggested on the podcast that the top infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.

"I'd put the heads on pikes, right, I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats," he said.

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.

When reached for comment, a spokeswoman for Bannon did not say how the podcast measured this number of listens despite multiple requests for clarification from Insider.

The spokeswoman said, however, of Bannon's comments about Fauci and Wray: "Mr. Bannon's commentary was clearly meant metaphorically. He previously played a clip of St. Thomas More's trial and was making an allusion to this historical event in Tudor England for rhetorical purposes."

Recent guests on the "Bannon's 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 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.

steve bannon trump
Bannon and then President Donald Trump at the White House in 2017. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Bannon was estranged from Trump after he was fired from his White House position in 2017.

Read more: Snapchat is minting overnight millionaires with its TikTok competitor but creators worry the gold rush will end soon

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.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Raheem Kassam was a guest on Bannon's War Room. He is a co-host.

Read the original article on Business Insider