Website publishes then removes bizarre attack on Shapiro
Sunday night. Breitbart News’ editor-at-large, Ben Shapiro, along with reporter, Michelle Fields, resigned. Breitbart’s Spokesman resigned last week.
Fields alleges that Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, manhandled her after asking Trump a race-related question. Lewandowski and the Trump campaign deny it. Since the allegations were made public, Breitbart News has seen internal turmoil over whether to defend Fields, and if so, to what extent.
Buzzfeed broke the story of the resignations Sunday night, including Shapiro’s resignation statement, which reads in full:
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.
Shapiro and Fields aren’t the only Breitbart staffers rankled by the site’s unwillingness to stand by Fields. Leaked messages showed long-time staffers expressing their concern to management, saying they were ‘ashamed‘ of how the incident had been handled.
After Fields and Shapiro resigned, Breitbart published a bizarre attack on Shapiro, using his father’s pseudonym.
The post contained personal attacks on Shapiro and an implied threat of legal action for Shapiro speaking out critically of Breitbart News:
The post eventually was removed (Google Cache here), but not before generating thousands of comments. The link now redirects to an apology from the site’s editor-at-large and in-house counsel, Joel Pollak, who penned the original post.
Following the incident, Politico interviewed Shapiro:
In an interview Shapiro denied he was looking to work for Fox News and that he has “never received” a job from the network. Shapiro, who is a Ted Cruz supporter, also said he did not violate his employment contract as the piece originally noted, since he is an “at will” employee.
The unusual piece, which can be read in full here, was even more shocking for Shapiro because it was posted under the pseudonym his father used while writing for the site — William Bigelow.
Shapiro’s father, the writer David Shapiro, also resigned from Breitbart on Sunday evening.
According to the younger Shapiro, his father was hired under the pseudonym to protect his safety since the younger Shapiro said he received so many death threats for his writings.
“Breitbart put this under his byline because they knew I’d have to out him,” Shapiro said in an interview on Monday, adding that by linking to his profile with the California State Bar the site exposed personal information, though that information is outdated. “The fact they would use my father’s pseudonym in order to attack me just exposes how despicable they are.”
More to follow, for sure.
UPDATE 3 p.m. (by WAJ): Politico reports:
Two more staffers for Breitbart have resigned from the company, citing the website’s pro-Donald Trump stance.
National security correspondent Jordan Schachtel and associate editor Jarrett Stepman sent their resignations to management on Monday afternoon.
“The company no longer resembles the ideals that inspired me to start writing for them three years ago. Some of us have been fighting behind the scenes against the party-line Trump propaganda for some time, but without any success, unfortunately,” Schachtel said in a statement. “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. I wish everyone at Breitbart the best, and hope the site can redeem the legacy of its founder under much-needed new management.”…
Stepman said in his statement: “Breitbart News has always been open 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.” He added, “Breitbart News has also now openly embraced the ‘Nationalist/Populist’ viewpoint, which is in direct opposition to limited-government conservatism that channels the philosophy of the Founding Fathers. It is becoming impossible for conservatives like myself to continue working for the organization, which now relentlessly pushes a perspective directly at odds with my fundamental beliefs.”
“I believe the integrity of Breitbart News, my own personal integrity, and the legacy of Andrew Breitbart are at stake, which is why I had to resign,” he continued.
— Jeff B/DDHQ (@EsotericCD) March 14, 2016
Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2016/03/breitbart-staffers-resign-jordan-schachtel-jarrett-stepman-220730#ixzz42uBx7OIH
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