Site takes a hit: Michelle Fields, Ben Shapiro Resign From Breitbart
Breitbart,com- has never been a website that had an overabundance of credibility among non-(21st century)conservatives, but like most ideological sites it has had some extremely talented and passionate writers and editors. With this news the site now takes a big hit on its journalistic credibility and also on its credibility among some within the politically split conservative-community.
Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro are resigning from the company over the site’s handling of Donald Trump’s campaign manager’s alleged assault on Fields, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Fields and Shapiro informed Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon of their decision Sunday night.
“Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation,” Fields said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. “I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.”
In his own statement, Shapiro said the episode was emblematic of how he believes the site’s management had sold out the legacy of its founder and namesake, the late Andrew Breitbart.
“Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed,” Shapiro wrote. “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.”
Breitbart has been riven by internal strife in recent days after Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski allegedly grabbed Fields and yanked her away from Trump as she was attempting to ask him a question after a press conference in Florida. The Trump campaign denied the incident, despite considerable evidence to the contrary.
Breitbart published a story casting doubt on Fields’ account, appearing to side with the Trump campaign over their own reporter. Joel Pollak, a senior editor-at-large at the organization, ordered staffers to stop defending Fields. One source with knowledge of the situation said some staffers who publicly defended Fields had been threatened with firing.
Earlier this week, Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella resigned saying “this s—t sucks” over the site’s Trump bias and response to the alleged assault allegations.
Basically, with the resignation of these two (considered among the site’s best journalists), the site takes a big hit. People don’t just walk off journalism jobs, online or mainstream media. It has to be something big and the message their resignations and statements conveys (correctly or not) is that the site is an all but declared vehicle for Donald Trump. I’m betting Breitbart.com gets some kind of an exclusive interview with Trump within the next few months.
In essence, except among Trumpistas, the site will now get the reputation as Trump’s media platform. And the two who quit? They’ll likely get job offers very soon from conservative media outlets that aren’t considered Trump’s echo chamber.
I will tell everyone one key fact: after having worked as a freelance for newspapers when I was in South Asia and Europe, and working as a reporter for two chain newspapers: editors have their reporters’ backs if anything happens to them. Management response to the allegation that one of their reporters was assaulted by a Trump bigwig (no pun intended) was not just unusual but shocking.
If Breitbart’s editors are upset about their leaving, they can ease their pain with a glass of Trump wine.