I don’t think we have written about the incident in which Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski allegedly manhandled Michelle Fields as she attempted to question the candidate at a rally. The incident has been covered extensively elsewhere, including here.
The incident is hardly without interest, but I’m more intrigued by the fallout. Breitbart, whose chairman is pro Trump, refused to back its reporter. To the contrary , it published a piece seeking to cast doubt on Fields’ account. Moreover, a senior editor is said to have ordered staffers to stop defending Fields.
Understandably, Fields has resigned. So too has Ben Shapiro, Breitbart’s estimable editor-at-large. Here, via BuzzFeed, is Shapiro’s full resignation statement.
As a close personal friend and mentee of Andrew Breitbart’s, it saddens me tremendously to announce that as of 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, I have resigned from Breitbart News as editor-at-large. I met Andrew Breitbart when I was seventeen years old and remained his friend until his tragic death; I signed on with Breitbart News two weeks before Andrew’s death because I believed in his mission.
I am proud of what we accomplished in the years following his death, fighting back against the leftist media and debunking the left’s key narratives. I have many good friends at Breitbart News, including editor-in-chief Alex Marlow and editor-at-large John Nolte, and I admire CEO Larry Solov for his dedication to ensuring a financial future for Andrew’s widow, Susie, and his four children.
Andrew built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed. Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy.
In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda, to the extent that he abandoned and undercut his own reporter, Breitbart News’ Michelle Fields, in order to protect Trump’s bully campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly assaulted Michelle.
I spoke with Michelle the night after the incident. She told me her story. That story was backed by audiotape, eyewitness testimony from The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, physical bruises, and video tape.
Both Lewandowski and Trump maligned Michelle in the most repulsive fashion. Meanwhile, Breitbart News not only stood by and did nothing outside of tepidly asking for an apology, they then attempted to abandon Michelle by silencing staff from tweeting or talking about the issue. Finally, in the ultimate indignity, they undermined Michelle completely by running a poorly-evidenced conspiracy theory as their lead story in which Michelle and Terris had somehow misidentified Lewandowski.
This is disgusting. Andrew never would have stood for it. No news outlet would stand for it.
This truly breaks my heart. But, as I am fond of saying, facts don’t care about your feelings, and the facts are undeniable: Breitbart News has become precisely the reverse of what Andrew would have wanted. Steve Bannon and those who follow his lead should be ashamed of themselves.