Former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields repeated her contention Monday night that Breitbart editor Matthew Boyle spoke with Corey Lewandowski on the phone immediately following last week’s “GrabGate” incident.
Fields told Megyn Kelly last night on Fox News’ Kelly File that Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s Campaign manager, admitted that he was the culprit and indicated that an apology would be ensuing.
“They knew the truth from the very beginning,” Fields said. “My editor, as soon as it happened, had spoken to Corey. He said Corey had admitted to it and I was getting an apology so I stayed quiet – I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it. ‘Look, it’s bruises – whatever. It’s fine,’ I thought. ‘I’m not going to make a big deal.’ But that didn’t happen, instead, they embarked on this smear campaign against me!”
Fields continued, “my company knew the truth and they sided with Donald Trump.”
She also alleged that Boyle had tried to put a positive spin on the imbroglio because it meant that Breitbart would get more access to the Trump campaign as a result.
“Matthew Boyle said ‘don’t worry, this is going to be great because Donald Trump is going to give us so many exclusives now, because they’re going to feel like they have to do it because of what they did,'” Fields explained. “This is how my company was looking at this – instead of saying, wow what happened, we’ll defend you, they were thinking this was a good thing because they would have more access to Donald Trump.”
Kelly noted that Breitbart released text messages between Lewindowski and Breitbart editor Matthew Boyle that indicated that they never spoke on the phone. (I would love to see their phone records, myself.)
Fields answered, “let’s see if what he says if God forbid we go to court, we’re subpoenaed and have to testify under oath.”
Kurt Bardell, CNN: Why I quit over Breitbart and the Trump campaign
Loyalty is a two-way street. No one would begrudge Breitbart for standing behind its reporter. Even if the entire incident unfolded as a misunderstanding, there would be zero blowback from anyone in the press for Breitbart taking a position supporting one of its own.
So why didn’t Breitbart?
Because its alignment with Trump has created a massive conflict of interest that has finally erupted into the public view.
As published by Breitbart News, political editor Matthew Boyle exchanged a few text messages with Lewandowski in the immediate aftermath of the Fields incident where Boyle himself reveals a bias toward the Trump campaign, writing, “K I wanna make sure that this doesn’t turn into a big story. It sounds to me like it was a misunderstanding.”
That is the lens with which Breitbart has viewed this incident from the very beginning, and underscores the inherent doubt it had for Fields’ account. It clearly very much wanted Lewandowski to be exonerated and for Fields to be guilty of making up some perverse hoax.
As I said on CNN with Don Lemon, the idea that Breitbart fully supported Fields is a lie. It just isn’t true.
As the story unfolded, Breitbart became obsessed with uncovering any type of “evidence” that could disprove Fields’ account, or at the very least, create a certain amount of reasonable doubt.
A news organization was working to undermine one of its own reporters. For me, this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Breitbart had abandoned its own reporter and did so with the objective to protect Trump’s campaign.
Two more Breitbart News employees announced their resignations on Monday, joining Ben Shapiro, his father David Shapiro, and Michelle Fields, who tendered their resignations on Sunday night. Former Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella also resigned last week. On Monday afternoon, Breitbart’s Jordan Schachtel and Jarrett Stepman announced their resignations, bringing the total number of staffers who have bolted from the organization to six. Schachtel said in a statement, “The company no longer resembles the ideals that inspired me to start writing for them three years ago.” He attacked the website’s consistent support for Republican front-runner Donald Trump as a central reason for his departure, saying, “Some of us have been fighting behind the scenes against the party-line Trump propaganda for some time, but without any success, unfortunately.”
Breitbart News is no longer a journalistic enterprise, but instead, in my opinion, something resembling an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign. I signed my contract to work as a journalist, not as a member of the Donald J. Trump for President media network. As recent events have proven, there is no longer a point in trying to reform the company from within, so I must step aside with my dignity intact.
Stepman repeated the same theme in his statement:
Breitbart News has always been about being a grassroots, conservative publication, but in my opinion we are working with or perhaps even taking direction from a presidential campaign, which is unacceptable journalistic behavior. I believe Breitbart News is becoming less of a news site and more of a propaganda organization dedicated to the Trump campaign.
Breitbart is getting litigious.
The company sent out cease and desist letters to some of the employees who left the company in the past week, multiple sources with knowledge of the letters told POLITICO. Six staffers resigned in the past few days, citing the aftermath of how the site handled one of its reporters, Michelle Fields, accusing Donald Trump’s campaign manager of strong-arming her as she tried to ask the candidate’s attention.
Several of the now former employees issued scathing statements about the company as part of their resignations, and some have given interviews on television and in major newspapers.