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The Michelle Fields controversy is only barely about Michelle Fields

The Michelle Fields controversy is only barely about Michelle Fields

Things are not always as they seem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N53HITIV78

By now you undoubtedly have heard of the controversy over whether Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbed Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields with sufficient force to cause her bruising on her arm. And whether Breitbart News sacrificed her so as to maintain pro-Trump coverage and good relations with Trump’s campaign.

If you have not heard of it, welcome back from the rock under which you’ve been hiding the past few days.

I’m not going to rehash the back and forth. Kemberlee has comprehensive coverage of the allegations and counter-allegations in Part 1 and Part 2 of her coverage.

I’m going to focus on why it has been such a big deal.

I see four main reasons: (1) good faith concern for Michelle Fields’ well-being, (2) a desire to defend the freedom of the press, (3) trying to gain political advantage against Trump, and (4) a dislike of Breitbart News.

1. Concern for Michelle Field’s Well-Being.

As to a good faith concern for the well-being of Michelle Fields, I presume this is a concern by some people, particularly those who know her. But beyond that circle, her injuries were not so extensive as to generate a medical concern for her. I don’t minimize her surprise and disgust at being grabbed on the arm, but I’m not seeing this concern being a primary motivating factor sufficient to justify the news coverage. As the saying goes, I may have been born at night, but I wasn’t born last night.

2. Concern for Freedom of the Press.

I think this is more of a motivating factor. Trump may not be a government actor yet, but he wants to be and the way he treats the press matters.

Trump’s aggressive, belligerent and demeaning style creates worry in itself. Trump is on record bragging that he sued a reporter just to make the reporter’s life miserable and run up legal fees. Couple that with his threat to try to ease libel law standards so he can sue the media more often and more effectively, and people are right to be concerned that rough treatment of a reporter may portend a bad future. As I’ve commented a number of times, just wait until Trump controls the IRS, FBI and other powerful government agencies.

So on this point, I do think the fact that it is Trump and the press colliding adds interest and makes it a more legitimate story for the press to cover. But, that alone wouldn’t warrant the coverage it has received.

3. Gaining Political Advantage Against Trump.

We are getting closer.

There is no doubt that this story has legs because it feeds a political narrative of Trump being a dangerous demagogue whose supporters enforce their wills with fists when need be. So the Trump campaign manager allegedly roughing up a reporter is bound to be a thing. And the fact that the reporter was a woman makes it more so.

Don’t be so surprised that there’s politics being practiced in politics. Just like when Trump expressed outrage that Ben Carson, who Trump said had an uncontrollable temper and was incurable like a pedophile, might have had his Iowa campaign hurt by some Ted Cruz mailers and rumor-mongering. Seriously, did anyone actually think that Trump gave a rat’s ass about Ben Carson?

So Trump and his supporters have no credibility to complain about politics in a crowded primary.

4. Dislike of Breitbart News.

Bingo! This is an angle not really covered by the mainstream media accounts of the controversy.

Perhaps because Fields is a Breitbart News reporter, it is counterintuitive for the uninitiated to consider that dislike of Breitbart News would be a motivating factor. But people who live in our world know that there is a great deal of ill-will towards Breitbart News among other new media news operations, including conservative media and bloggers.

Part of it is jealousy that Breitbart News has parlayed money and a Drudge connection into big-time traffic. And if you don’t think people watch traffic (not me of course), you were born last night.

There’s also a sense that the organization has lost its way and exploits Andrew Breitbart’s name to promote things (like big bully government advocate Donald Trump) and to act in ways contrary to his memory. I don’t think that’s fair, even if it’s true. Andrew is dead, and many of the people complaining didn’t know him half as well as the people who now run Breitbart News. I think it’s presumptuous for anyone to purport to speak for Andrew’s memory. We can each honor his memory in the way we see fit.

But it’s more than that. Breitbart News has a reputation for having particularly sharp elbows as to employees. And many of us know those employees and former employees and have heard stories. That doesn’t mean Breitbart News does anything it’s not legally entitled to do, but, for example, people being locked into strict contracts seems pretty rough in a business where people float around a lot for relatively little pay. The Dana Loesch lawsuit created a lot of ill will among conservative bloggers.

Those sharp elbows extend to treatment of other media. Breitbart News coined the phrase “Ben Smithing,” which has gained mainstream news coverage and its own Urban Dictionary entry. Ben Smithing refers to former Politico blogger Ben Smith, and his alleged penchant for early framing of a story so as to favor Democrats so effectively that it misdirects subsequent coverage. Guess which news outlet is leading the charge against Breitbart News on the Michelle Fields coverage, including obtaining leaked internal Breitbart News emails and chat conversations that paint Breitbart News management in a bad light? Buzzfeed. Guess who is the Editor in Chief of Buzzfeed? Ben Smith. Payback is a bitch.

So there you have it. My take on the Michelle Fields but not really Michelle Fields controversy.

UPDATE: Buzzfeed just broke the story that Fields and Ben Shapiro have resigned from Breitbart News.

[Note, the second sentence of the first paragraph was added shortly after publication to clarify the nature of the controversy.]

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Comments

Best. Analysis. Ever!

    janitor in reply to EBL. | March 13, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I think there’s another one.

    5. Trump Derangement Syndrome.Pretext to write yet another blog post that inserts slimes about Trump. A condition manifesting from the erroneous perception that Trump’s candidacy somehow hurt Cruz, the lack of cognition that Cruz wouldn’t be anywhere at all right now but for sailing up for months in Trump’s wake, and that Cruz himself blew it with Trump, and that but for Trump we’d all be talking about Jeb Bush.

I am not a Trump fan but I am less of a fan of the media. In the end, I just don’t care about a snotty reporter nor the profession that we call the American media.

Right. I don’t read Breitbart regularly and had no idea about the all the machinations. I saw the video (couldn’t make out much) and read the transcript of the incident from Politico, read what WaPo had to say, and I read all of the follow-up communication that has been published coming from Breitbart and the Trump organization.

Looks to me like Trump’s campaign manager roughed up a reporter: he laid hands on her. Don’t turn this into “beef with Breitbart.” For once, let’s see this for what it is: a very highly placed person in a campaign LAID HANDS ON A REPORTER. On a female reporter who was doing nothing wrong, who is physically much smaller than the CM. Seriously: you’re going to say that this is all about animus toward Breitbart? Well, I can tell you that after reading the subsequent correspondence from Breitbart, they haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory and maybe a little sunshine on the Trump-Breitbart relationship is just what’s needed here.

Cue the War On Women: Donald Trump has proven that he is a sexist…*jerk*. Poo poo flows down hill, folks. Too bad Breitbart’s ‘sharp elbows’ don’t extend in his direction.

    Barry in reply to bbmoe. | March 13, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    “Looks to me like Trump’s campaign manager roughed up a reporter: he laid hands on her.”

    Apparently, you can neither see or read.

      peg_c in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 9:44 am

      I do read Breitbart, and in fact it has been my main go-to for up-to-the-minute campaign info. The site ran a serious risk of discrediting itself SUPPORTING Fields in an all-out hysterical frenzy a few days ago. In case it’s escaped everyone’s attention, Fields (and Ferris) have now been discredited. There is zero evidence of manhandling and the bruises were obviously days old. The Last Refuge among others has the details.

      She’s a hack and the whole thing very likely was planned to target Trump’s campaign manager.

      By the way, Shapiro has been very busy discrediting himself as well. He belongs at Fox and I’m sure Kelly will make him feel quite welcome. I won’t be watching.

      bbmoe in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      As the evidence mounts corroborating the Fields/Ferris account (transcripts from recording at the scene, a police report made as demanded by Trump fans, witnesses) it all boils down to: whoever says something bad about Trump personally or his campaign isn’t credible because [fill in the blank, it can be anything and it can be completely nonsensical and/or ad hominem. Check your “Rules for Radicals; Lewandowski certainly did.]

      Also, anyone who expresses skepticism about Trump or finds the evidence credible “can’t see or read.” Do you get extra points for being juvenile? Why yes, yes you do.

    ThomasD in reply to bbmoe. | March 14, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Lewandowski pulled her down. The real question is why? If he thought her an actual threat why would he let her go and simply keep moving as he did?

    While I do believe it was a case of mistaken (or lack of proper) identity, the only reason he would behave as he did is due to a planned pattern of intimidation. The Trump campaign does not want anyone asking any unscripted or (at least) unanticipated questions. Get too close at the srong time and they’ll move you away.

    And consider it from her angle. Not only does she get pulled down by a ‘friendly’ there is also a witness. A witness form the MSM, who cannot be trusted to drop the whole thing.

    If she says nothing then she, and Breitbart, run the risk of the story appearing in the WaPo. Then they have lost control of the whole thing and she either has to lie about it, or attempt to minimize it – further displaying how far in the bag Breitbart is for Trump.

    So instead she tries to make the best of it, and if Lewandowksi had simply said ‘my bad, I though she could have been a threat’ the whole story would be over.

      forksdad in reply to ThomasD. | March 14, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Except nobody pulled anybody ‘down’ ‘back’ ‘sideways’ or ‘to the moon’. I watched the video. She didn’t pause her arm didn’t move and she never, ever moved towards the ground.

      If it happened she would have been on every nightly news between then and November. It didn’t no one even has a picture of her budging.

        ThomasD in reply to forksdad. | March 14, 2016 at 4:11 pm

        Pulled down, yes. But as the video shows, she never fell to the ground.

        Lewandowski did it and, rather than making it better, chose to lie about it. Now the lie is roping in Trump supporters who simply refuse to accept visual evidence, and would rather spin their own version of reality.

The latest video, which dispels the notion that anything other than a light touch of the shoulder happened, as he was passing by the “journalist”.

http://dcwhispers.com/must-see-new-video-proves-michelle-fields-filed-false-charges-trump-campaign-manager/

The whole thing appears to be nothing more than a big fat lie. Who woulda thunk a lefty might try that?

    Sanddog in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Yeah, she really looks traumatized. See her clutching her arm and crying out? No? I didn’t see it either. If anything, she looked disappointed that she wasn’t able to get to Trump.

    peg_c in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 9:47 am

    DCWhispers is a great site. Dustin Ulsterman has done yeoman’s work exposing frauds including in the White House since at least 2011 or so (he’s accurately foretold several of the worst 0bama scandals because he has high profile contacts in the WH).

    ThomasD in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Then why did Lewandowski deny touching her???

    And why do you not see a problem with his lie?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I guess you missed the point in that severely edited video where she stumbles as Corey pulls backwards on her arm.

    Also, legally she is absolutely correct he had no right to touch her in any way and he obviously pulled her arm with the intent of making her move back. Which he has zero right to do.

    I have had people try that with me before, everyone of them regretted it about 1 second later.Hint for Corey, if you don’t want this kind of stuff happening then keep your damned hands to yourself.

I have yet to see a video that erases all doubt as to exactly what happened, and exactly who (Lewandowski? or maybe a security employee?) was involved. I am beginning to wonder why the same reporter always seems to be the victim of such alleged treatment.

Trump’s aggressive, belligerent and demeaning style creates worry in itself.

And that’s exactly why your Concern #2 is a non-starter.

Love him or hate him, one can’t fail to notice that Trump is a master manipulator of the press. He’s an artist, orders of magnitude better than any politician I’ve ever seen. His skills at manipulation are a perfect complement to the organic weaknesses of the press, and he obviously knows it—and so, I’d imagine, does the press, but it’s helpless to do anything about it. The press wants—it needs—a show, and Trump gives them one. Of course to onlookers it makes Trump look brash and cartoonish; so on the down side, people think he looks like a goof, but on the up side, the press does exactly what he wants. Looking cartoonish is probably a small price to pay for such a result.

So … why would a canny operator like Trump need, or even want, to jeopardize this useful relationship? Thuggishness would gain him nothing. He can get everything he needs without it. A good businessman isn’t going to pay more for something he already has.

    Curle in reply to tom swift. | March 14, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Further, the professor’s explanation of the dark art of BenSmithing supports Trump’s approach. Trump has to communicate in a way that cannot be dismissed or buried by the press if he is to have any effect whatsoever. Further, the entirety of the moral universe that the press presents to the world is degenerate and inverted. Trump, in a very basic and crude manner, is having a moral argument with his opponents, something the Paul Ryans and Mitt Romneys of the world were unwilling or unable to do. The GOPe wants to talk in policy terms when they are attacked on moral grounds. This is why they lose time and again. Trump is willing to fight morality claims with a contrary moral claim.

    When Trump asserts that there are Mexican rapists coming over the border (a 100% true statement viewed as immoral to discuss in polite society by the Leftist media), knowing full well the reaction such a statement will receive, not because it is wrong, it isn’t, but because those who consider themselves the moral gatekeepers of the society have decided to bury the information, he is engaging in a form of moral warfare. He is communicating to the silent majority that he won’t be cowed, as Paul Ryan or Romney would, by the faux morality of multiculturalism or diversity. That his moral order, protecting and preserving both the American people, their safety and their legacy, is of a higher order than something dreamed up by divide-and-conquer intellectuals in the 20th century. And, he’s right to do so.

    When he makes his morally challenging comments (called divisive by the ruling class gatekeepers) he’s following in the footsteps of Lee Atwater with Willie Horton and Reagan with welfare queens. Both efforts denounced as immoral by the ruling class but which were entirely legitimate as expressions of real failures of the ruling class.

      inspectorudy in reply to Curle. | March 14, 2016 at 9:22 am

      I appreciate Trump’s pointing out all of the PC positions that our society has taken to prevent talking, let alone doing anything about. He has boldly introduced into our public discourse many subjects that need to be discussed. Unlike the incompetent Eric Holder who call us cowards, Trump just throws the topic out and says it is a problem. This is healthy but my disagreement with Trump is his approach and lack of direction on how to solve these issues. Because he has brought so many taboo subjects up at one time he will now be crucified by the msm. One subject like the border wall or a pause in muslim immigration might have been sufficient but then he continues on with insulting talk of our allies and trading partners. Any one of these issues would be healthy but to name almost every nation in the world as “Cheating” or being unfair to the US is not going to be productive. I loved the man when he first appeared because he was broaching subjects that I have thought needed to be broached. But he doesn’t seem to have any form of self control. He insults everyone! I disagree with the Professor on the subject of Breitbart. They have now gone past the point of a being a conservative web site to being a Trump cheer leader.

        I disagree with your last assertion. Breitbart does not attack Trump with GOP establishment hysteria; it is more fair than that. Not attacking Trump I guess now equates to being in the bag for him. You do know that Breitbart’s CEO is a major Cruz donor, right? Pity his candidate (I was a Cruzer for 4 years) is self-immolating.

          inspectorudy in reply to peg_c. | March 15, 2016 at 12:03 am

          I try to know nothing about any of the web site people except the articles that they have written. That way my opinion of them is based on their work and not on their politics. Just as with Trump I want to see where he has done or supported any of the things he proposes. I will support him but on the current info about his past, which is all we have to go on, I cannot support him over Ted Cruz. I do not hold anger or grudges against the Trumpets but I am amazed that they are almost identical to the obama lovers who knew nothing about him except he was black and could read the teleprompter without any problems. IMO Trump should go to the tele to raise his speaking ability beyond the 5 the grade level he now employs. Since this is not a game and the future of nation is at stake I pray that Trump lives up to all of his supporters. If not then we are doomed.

Attention press:
Molehill
Mountain

Learn the difference.

    peg_c in reply to georgfelis. | March 14, 2016 at 9:52 am

    The last journalist I actually feel truly sorry for was Lara Logan. I despise the so-called profession. It needs to clean up not a few aisles but the entire store.

Have to admit, I don’t see the big deal. Not a Trump supporter, but just not getting the big issue. And yes, I care how woman are treated (being one) but still not seeing it.

“Ted Crux”

Typo, Professor? or a bit of subtle analysis? 🙂

I’ve been following this story daily on twitter starting with the first tweet Michelle Fields published on it.

It’s a drama with many twisty turns.

good enough morgan | March 13, 2016 at 10:03 pm

I get point 4. But there is also a man-bites-dog angle: why was the Trump campaign punishing friends?

Professor,

I believe #4 is little more nuanced than mere revenge. The bigger problem for Breitbart is that they are full-throated supporters of Trump. I do not have a problem per se with their support, but when you are willing to trash your reporter to defend your candidate, it should shake the very foundation of one’s objectivity. I think when this happens, your credibility becomes at risk.

When Breitbart’s former spokesman publicly says Breitbart is lying, you have a full-fledged disaster on your hands. The funny thing here is, a WaPo reporter saw the entire incident and was positive it was Lewandowski who assaulted Michelle Fields. It should not surprise anyone that BuzzFeed or any competitor of Breitbart is on this matter.

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/03/12/former-spokesman-says-breitbart-lying-about-michelle-fields-manhandling-at-trump-event/

This is an unforced error by Breitbart.

    Barry in reply to spartan. | March 13, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    “When Breitbart’s former spokesman publicly says Breitbart is lying, you have a full-fledged disaster on your hands.”

    What if the former spokesman is the one lying?

    “The funny thing here is, a WaPo reporter saw the entire incident and was positive it was Lewandowski who assaulted Michelle Fields.”

    Well, there you go, a WaPo “reporter”. That certainly makes it all true.

    In the real world, we all know the left lies and makes shit up all the time. In fact, in the real world, we assume that is the case first…

      Lucien Cordier in reply to Barry. | March 13, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      “In the real world, we all know the left lies and makes shit up all the time. In fact, in the real world, we assume that is the case first…”

      Ain’t that the truth. This should make your blood boil. It’s a scan of an article in the print version of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Read the caption.

      http://16004-presscdn-0-50.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/trump-post-dispatch-575×583.jpg

      spartan in reply to Barry. | March 13, 2016 at 11:36 pm

      Let me guess …

      Everyone is lying but Team Trump and Breitbart. I bet you also believe Trump Steaks are really yummy and those folks in the Trump U class action lawsuits are liars as well.

      I guess Trump is right …… Trump could shoot someone in a crowded area and still keep voters.

        Barry in reply to spartan. | March 14, 2016 at 12:58 am

        “Everyone is lying but Team Trump and Breitbart.”

        Quite possible given the nature of the “reporters”.

        A few things are quite clear to anyone with more than two brain cells:

        1) No one else, among the hundreds of people gathered around, including some not Trump/brietbart people, noticed this deadly assault. None, that’s zero for the TDS challenged.

        2) The latest video to surface, as linked in my earlier comment, is the clearest yet. In the worst case CL brushed the “reporter” with his hand as he moved past her. In a crowd of people I’m guessing he had no idea he had committed a deadly assault.

        3) As I said, this kind of stuff is a staple of the left. Anyone not suffering from advanced TDS see’s it. Some people want to believe and refuse to see the truth.

          spartan in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 7:12 am

          You really sound like a Scooby-Doo villain; ‘we would have gotten away with it except for these meddling reporters’.

          Let me guess again … what appeared on the video to be a sucker punch by a Trump supporter to a Black male leaving a Trump event was really a love tap and a corresponding flop (which would have made soccer fans proud).

          How about the video of a Trump supporter who taunted a Black female to “go back to Africa” at another Trump rally?
          What kind of person would excuse that kind of behavior?

          It is probably someone who never read Trump’s 1990 Playboy interview where he did say Tiananmen Square was a show of strength. It was not just an observation in a vacuum. It was related to what Trump believed to be a weakness in Gorbachev in dealing with events in the Soviet Union. The GOP is playing with fire with this guy.

          The Trump trolls who pollute this forum and others will go down in history as the delusional conspiracists who see the world in terms of Birthers, Truthers, and the 1969 Moon Landing was done on a Hollywood sound stage. We are to believe you instead of our lying eyes.

          Those bruises on Michele Fields’ arm; all fake as well.
          We are living in interesting times.

          Barry in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 8:35 am

          Changing the subject when your looking like a fool.

          The video is there for all to see. If you’re taken by the TDS, it’s just to pity.

          As to the rest of your babbling, I’ll just give your the entire left and the pussy R’s that never fight it.

          Changing the subject when your [sic] looking like a fool.

          Except that he wasn’t actually changing the subject. He was just laying out past episodes of bullying and thuggery by Team Trump, which are absolutely relevant to this discussion.

        Lucien Cordier in reply to spartan. | March 14, 2016 at 2:25 am

        Don’t be obtuse. Did you look at the linked image? It’s about lying media, not Trump.

        forksdad in reply to spartan. | March 14, 2016 at 10:59 am

        Everybody is lying? How about 100 cameras are lying? Because none of them saw anything like what she described. Why not, everybody in the room from every MSM source except the one guy who told our little ‘victim’ is lying because no one backs their version.

        Let’s try she’s lying, the cameras and other witnesses are not and simpleton white knights are beclowining themselves? That one works best for the facts.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      I might have agreed with you until Ben Shapiro resigned as well.

    peg_c in reply to spartan. | March 14, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Apparently you are unaware that both Fields and Ferris have been completely discredited.

One of the elements rarely mentioned is Michelle Fields makes no bones about being a staunch Trump opposer as is her drama partner who claimed Lewandowski was the person who grasp her tight enough to leave a light bruise.

There is nothing to analyze because latest videos clearly show nothing happened and Fields and Terris are liars and both should be fired from their jobs.

Professor, the single thing that bothers me most about this incident is Ms. Kaye’s reporting. Both of her reports start, in the very first sentence, with a demonstrably false statement intended to make this “incident” seem far worse than it might be. I immediately pointed this out in the comments, along with an exact quote of and link to Michelle Fields own description of the incident. Yet the false statement was never corrected. This is the first time I have ever had cause to distrust the reporting on this otherwise first class site.

I have followed this closely, and while I think “someone” had contact with Ms. Fields, it is less than clear that the “someone” is Corey Lewandowski. That certainly has not been shown to be likely to have happened, much less proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard relevant to Ms. Field’s criminal complaint. It almost certainly never will be proven to either of these standards.

In any event, it is clear that all that happened is a momentary (less than a second or two) grasp and pull on the arm of a reporter charging Trump to ask a question as he was trying to leave, hardly an earth-shattering episode. The fact that no one other than Ms. Fields and her WaPo friend were even aware of the incident at the time shows how brief this “incident” was.

Why has it received such attention? I think your pointing to the “revenge of Ben Smith factor” explains how it got going, and a media receptive to the narrative that Trump and his crew are acting rough explains its wide transmission (even though I think it is completely unjustifiable to draw any conclusion about Trump from this incident).

    DaMav in reply to Wisewerds. | March 14, 2016 at 2:29 am

    Well done. I agree with all your points.

    And the “bruises” reminded me of a boo boo that merits a kiss to make it better at best. She could gotten that bumping into anything or anyone and people are acting as if she got her arm torn off.

    The fact that a roomful of reporters saw nothing tells you that this is an attempt to turn a fart into a hurricane.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to DaMav. | March 14, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Oh, so we should start grading assault by how badly the person is hurt?

      Here is the test, is the person in question (Corey) a Federal, State, County, or City law enforcement officer? Answer: No

      Then he has zero right to lay his hands on anyone and if he choosed to do so he can be charged with Assault. If he had done the same to me he would have at least a sore, if not broken wrist.

    spartan in reply to Wisewerds. | March 14, 2016 at 7:39 am

    This is pure sophistry; something Trump and his supporters really enjoy when mere smearing doesn’t work.

    I wasn’t going to respond to your weakly thought out post, but you had to trash Kimberlee Kaye. You can disagree with her posts without the hyperbole of;
    “This is the first time I have ever had cause to distrust the reporting on this otherwise first class site.”

    I find all of the writers on this forum to have one common trait; good faith. Everything that is written is done in good faith. If you have a disagreement with Ms. Kaye, fine, but appeals like yours to the professor come off like Eddie Haskell.

      Wisewerds in reply to spartan. | March 14, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Ms. Kaye’s original article stated, in the first sentence, that reporter Michelle Fields was “thrown to the ground.”

      From Michelle Fields own account on Breitbart: “I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance.”

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/03/10/3276486/

      I notice on reviewing the article before responding to your post that Ms. Kaye has now slightly tweaked it, lining out “to” and changing it to “towards.” But that still is not a claim Michelle Fields made.

      Having reviewed all the video of this “incident” I could find, there is still absolutely no objective evidence substantiating it.

      It is a “fact” Ms. Kaye made up out of thin air to make this “incident” seem like a bigger deal than it is. To fit, apparently, a preconceived narrative. Exactly as the Professor rightly suggests is happening in this present article.

      For the record, I plan to vote for Cruz. There are a lot of reasons for criticizing Trump. This just isn’t one of them.

        forksdad in reply to Wisewerds. | March 14, 2016 at 11:07 am

        Yes I noticed the same thing. If I were an editor here I would be very damn careful vetting further articles that deal even tangentially with Trump. Because a whole bunch of articles have been piled on between now and the original some folks have forgotten but the original was clearly unvetted and biased.

        It taints the LI name and ‘brand’ when articles like that come out. Even later ‘editing’ neglected to mention the entire article wasn’t just wrong it was biased from the get go.

          If I were an editor here I would be very damn careful vetting further articles that deal even tangentially with Trump.

          Wow, that sounds very close to a threat! “Nice little blog ya got there. Be a shame if anything were to ‘happen’ to it…”

          I really think a lot of the authoritarian-leaning big-government-loving Trumpkins are just wetting themselves in anticipation of third-world Strongman Don getting in and using the power of the government to punish all Wrong-Thinkers and Dissidents. Are you hoping he’ll sue, or just call his friend Bill and “close the thing down”?

          “We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.”

          forksdad in reply to forksdad. | March 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm

          Keep beclowing yourself and trolling your two strong suits. There is no threat because I wasn’t making one. I don’t do that.

          I was stating that if I were responsible for the integrity of a group I would be careful of accepting submissions from someone who’s proven themselves to be biased. I can’t even see where you get from that to a threat of any kind.

          Idiot.

    Have you seen the latest video? Let me share it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wry3LB2KaSI

    It clearly show Lewandowski grabbing her and pulling her back as he passes. Just as she alleges, and just as he first stated before that story was spiked. She was pulled ninety degrees off track, stopped dead from a walking pace, and had to take three steps to her left to regain balance. That’s the video.

    This is about character. All about character. It wasn’t malicious. Nor was she “thrown to the ground” (she a drama queen)

    But given the chance to admit it, and apologize Lewandoswki chose to lie, demean the woman and let the trumpites destroy her on the Internet.

    If they lie about such a little thing, so petty, what else are they lying about?

Yet another example of warped campus values escaping into general society. This time the values are the “rape culture.” (The previous example was “hate speech” justifying the shut down of “free speech.”)

The campus rape culture allows victims to self identify without need of process or even proof. The accusation is the conviction. If a person feels assaulted, they were assaulted.

The right increasingly appears to be adopting the left’s culture.

The irony is that the Breitbart organization is in the middle of this one. In 2010, Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward to anyone that could produce a video of someone spitting on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver during a Tea Party protest. This was to emphasize the likely invention of the story by Cleaver.

That is, Andrew Breitbart accepted the defense of multitudinous filming. If enough cameras are rolling, then everything will be caught.

For this latest Fields incident (there have been previous Fields incidents, e.g., the 2013 accusation that Allen West grabbed her breast, which West denies), there were probably more cameras filming, and the most of the cameras were probably of much higher quality than for the 2010 Cleaver incident.

Perhaps Trump should offer a similar Breitbart-like reward for a video conclusively showing the smackdown to bring closure to this event (with Trump’s motivation being that such a video will not appear). On the other hand, I’m guessing that Trump simply wants this to quietly and quickly fade away, so, such a reward will not happen.

The Breitbart organization also seems schizophrenic regarding whether it believes and supports Fields. Keep in mind that Fields has only been working at Breitbart since November, not a long time to build loyalty from within the company.

(I will not even delve into what could possibly motivate a sane person to do such a thing as take down a reporter in such a public place. If anything did happen, Occam’s razor would suggest that the most likely scenario would be a security guard pushing Fields away as she tried to touch Trump — though that begs the question of why the bodyguard would not later admit to doing so.)

Sammy Finkelman | March 13, 2016 at 10:58 pm

I think none of these 4 choices capture what makes this a big deal.

Number 2 is closest, but it’s not Freedom of the Press per se that some people are concerned about, but much more so the kind of government Donald Trump would run, which is why the lying is also important. This goes far beyond mistreatment of a reporter or of reporters in general who cover him.

Now all these people probably already think badly of Donald Trump, so it’s more in the nature of evidence or proof than outrage (with the possibility maybe trying to see if Donald Trump decides to change course)

The video released Saturday show that she is clearly lying. She was not touched. Now the focus should be about why she did this, and as a journalist, she should be fired.

Professor, You missed the part where the event is clearly a HOAX.

    forksdad in reply to rotten. | March 14, 2016 at 11:11 am

    That should be the next article. Why did a hoax eat up so many pixels and so much time? Why focus on Trump when it is not about Trump at all except as the victim of a smear?

The video evidence suggests, at most, that he grasped her arm to move her out of the path of the gaggle & that she was moved slightly by that maneuver as the gaggle passed. Not even close to losing her balance, let alone nearly falling to the floor. Her facial expression after Lewandowski was past her betrayed nothing at all, certainly not ‘shock’.

Video being difficult (but not impossible) to fake, I’m going with the video evidence for now. The verbal accounts of Fields & Terris are not supported by any of the 3 videos I’ve seen and the most recently released one flatly contradicts those accounts.

Not going to speculate, but something’s off here.

    murkyv in reply to Daiwa. | March 14, 2016 at 1:14 am

    This reminds me of a video I watched last year of a police shooting. Might have even got linked to it here at LI.

    The point of the video was to show how different people have different versions of what they saw. Most everybody just KNEW the cop gunned down an innocent.

    Only when a different camera angle (bodycam I believe)of the same incident is shown do you see the weapon in the perps hand. Totally justified.

    We now have different screenshots, videos, pictures and eyewitness accounts that seem to defy Fields claim, yet some are still clinging to the original reporting because…Trump

    What is troubling, is that I still see several people on other sites claim she was attacked, beaten and wrestled to the ground.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Daiwa. | March 14, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    “The video evidence suggests, at most, that he grasped her arm to move her out of the path of the gaggle & that she was moved slightly by that maneuver as the gaggle passed.”

    Which he had no right to do and in doing so he opened himself up to being charged with assault.

    Let me say this one more time so that it might sink in. Corey has no right to lay his hands on her at all, period, end of story. He should keep his butt pickers to himself and this wouldn’t be happening.

6. To sustain the narrative that *Trump* is the source of the violence at his rallies — not the people who show up with the intention of forcibly disrupting the event.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | March 14, 2016 at 12:38 am

Buzzfeed is reporting that Ben Shapiro and Fields have resigned from Trumpbart. No surprise. I was expecting it sooner. It’s unrealistic to think they could be as publicly critical of Trumpbart’s handling of this event and remain an employee.

    “Buzzfeed is reporting that Ben Shapiro and Fields have resigned from Trumpbart.”

    They should have been fired. I’m sure they would have been eventually. Generally, faking an assault is not something one should do and expect to remain employed. She should be charged with filing a false police report.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Barry. | March 14, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Shapiro is one of their top talents, his resignation hurt them badly, especially considering there adolescent handling of it.

I was not born last night, maybe it was yesterday afternoon.

Is this editorial speaking of Obama’s treatment of the press, or his treatment of the Constitution? Or the dignity of the office of the president?

Coulda fooled me.

If you want a useless pussy for president – and one who will land us right back to where we where in George Bush’s final year – forget Trump, and throw your skinny weight behind Romney.

“It was a spontaneous protest against a vile internet video”, “Hands up, don’t shoot”, “Skittles and tea”, “I can’t Breathe”, “rough ride”, “violent assault against a reporter”.

The media narrative “trumps” all objective truth and a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets it’s boots on.

I visit Briebart regularly. I also visit this blog regularly and this post is one of the major reasons why. Thanks for the insight!

I’d like to say I’m surprised by some of the absolutely insane comments here. The comments over at Pravda (Breitbart) are just awful.

2016 is the year conservatism died.

The latest video proves she lied. Many people in the media believed her without any real evidence to do so and a few people (like Ben Shapiro) staked their reputation on her story. Shapiro has some real soul searching to do because he looks like a fool for his stridency.

Instead of a gotcha moment this turns out to be a real blow for the anti Trumpers out there. Objectivity has become a casualty in this race.

    spartan in reply to PhillyGuy. | March 14, 2016 at 10:57 am

    For the Trumpets, your objectivity is non-existent. You will slime and smear anyone who refuses to march in lock-step with your views. Like Trump, you project who you are by your attacks on your opponents.
    I used to wonder where the cranks who supported Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 found a home. I wonder no longer. They live with Trump.
    Here is a part of Ben Shapiro’s resignation statement:

    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.

    http://twitchy.com/2016/03/14/completely-psycho-breitbart-posts-yanks-gross-parting-smear-of-ben-shapiro-screenshots/

      forksdad in reply to spartan. | March 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

      You can’t malign a liar.

      Trumpbart is spinning more and more wildly out of control every day.
      http://archive.is/zEt98

      PhillyGuy in reply to spartan. | March 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Ummm..the video shows she lied. Or put another way, she was never grabbed hard and was never almost thrown to the ground. it’s all a very bad lie. That means Shapiro backed an intentional deceiver. This has nothing to do with Lewandowski or Trump.

        PhillyGuy in reply to PhillyGuy. | March 14, 2016 at 11:55 am

        Hard to understand why you would downvote that. The latest video unambiguously shows she lied. Even listening to the audio, you don’t hear a scuffle of any sort. Just dead silence and then the 2 talking about it. She’s a scammer. A gloryhound.

        Ummm..the video shows she lied. Or put another way, she was never grabbed hard

        Meanwhile, Corey Lewandowski denied having “touched” Fields at all, and called her “delusional.” Or put another way, he lied.

        It’s so often the coverup and not the crime, isn’t it.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to PhillyGuy. | March 14, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    LMAO, another legal scholar. The latest video shows Corey with his hand on her. What right does Corey have to lay his hands on anyone? He has none, the latest video shows he is guilty of assault.

    Just because she didn’t fall down doesn’t mean jack diddly. Corey obviously pulled back on her arm, sure maybe she over reacted, but that doesn’t change the fact that he had no right to do it in the first place.

Three things missing from this analysis:

(1) Legitimate safety concerns

There are legitimate safety concerns. Anyone aggressively moving towards a candidate in close quarters can create a reaction – not necessarily an over-reaction – from the candidate’s handlers.

I think Corey et. al. could have easily dismissed this – and it would be forgotten – if they said simply it was out of an abundance of caution, didn’t recognize the reporter, etc.

They didn’t – they chose the deny route …

(2) Trump benefits from the coverage

Trump’s true believers get more fired up. Negative coverage does not have the same impact on Trump as it does on other candidates. These incidents create more coverage for Trump, Trump, Trump …

(3) They chose the deny, deny, deny route

A minor non-incident escalates into something greater because of the denials. While it doesn’t have the same impact of denials-become-greater-issue-than-the-coverup with Trump (“Teflon Don”), Trump can do this and get media attention and not be impacted as his core supporter level.

Probably even fire them up more.

However – at a broader level – the Trumpkins need to look ahead strategically. If very aggressive behavior is taking always, denial is always chosen (“you can’t definitely PROVE that Corey was an out-of-line jerk”), without proper framing (“guy was just doing his job which includes security”) – you run the risk of turning a lot of folks off.

In the primary, maybe not an issue. But it assumes you can pivot in the general and re-win those folks.

They may not vote for Hillary, but they may not vote for Trump either. That’s a loss. There are a lot of core Republicans that will cause other issues if you continue to piss on them …

No one yet knows what votes anyone needs … not sure strategically its worth pissing too many of them away yet.

Also, on a side note, #4 might be interesting to how the media chooses to cover it. But in terms of my own views, its not something I was too aware of. I stopped following Breitbart not too long after Andrew passed away, as the tone and content changed without him there. I don’t see it affecting my thinking … I wish his widow and family well, and success to the website in supporting her (if it indeed does so still, I have no idea how the ownership passed on). But I miss the old Breitbart.com and Andrew Breitbart. He was truly a blessing for all of us during his time here on earth.

    forksdad in reply to PrincetonAl. | March 14, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Things missing? The truth. It didn’t happen. Solid analysis. You can’t analyze a lie and smear except as a lie and smear. ‘Deny, deny, deny’. Should read, “Truth, truth, truth”.

    If you can twist something like this to somehow blame Trump you can twist anything.

Trump’s aggressive, belligerent and demeaning style creates worry in itself. Trump is on record bragging that he sued a reporter just to make the reporter’s life miserable and run up legal fees. Couple that with his threat to try to ease libel law standards so he can sue the media more often and more effectively, and people are right to be concerned that rough treatment of a reporter may portend a bad future. As I’ve commented a number of times, just wait until Trump controls the IRS, FBI and other powerful government agencies.

“Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.”

Maybe the reason so many people were willing to believe that Trump had his campaign manager strong-arm a female reporter who was asking awkward questions is that that’s the kind of bully-thug move one would expect from a such a man. If someone claimed that John Kasich’s or Marco Rubio’s campaign manager had done this, I don’t think the story would have had the same legs.

    PhillyGuy in reply to Amy in FL. | March 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Or these people just decided to throw their reputations out of the window to smear Lewandowski without regard to the truth. Completely abandon their integrity.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to PhillyGuy. | March 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Oh, yea that is so Ben Shapiro’s style. I suggest you get back on whatever meds you obviously quit taking.

http://twitchy.com/2016/03/14/completely-psycho-breitbart-posts-yanks-gross-parting-smear-of-ben-shapiro-screenshots/

Disgusting and despicable. Andrew would spit on this outfit and sue to get his name cleared.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Absolutely disgusting, especially since it is being written by their “in house counsel” who should know better. Pollak should resign in disgrace.

    The complete dearth of leadership and loyalty shown by the CEO, Bannon, and Pollak shows that they are unfit of Andrew’s Legacy.

I disagree with the Professor on one point. This has nothing to do with Fields or Breitbart. The Breitbart angle is a story in of itself.

This is a story about character or lack thereof. Lewandowski grabbed Fields. The video clearly shows her changing direction quickly, taking three steps to her left, the first one a hard step. She looks surprised at what happened as Lewandowski passes.

Lewandowski should have just apologized early on saying he didn’t mean to grab so hard. Then the story is over. He was doing what he thought his job was. But given the CHOICE he chose to lie and demean her and have his Trump supporters trash her.

She’s no gem, an obvious millennial snowflake drama queen. She wasn’t “almost thrown to the ground”. But that doesn’t make what happened go away. Instead, the taunting made her file a criminal complaint and guess what- he’s the suspect.

And as a retired Florida detective who has arrested dozens for misdemeanor battery, he’s guilty of it.

All because the Trump campaign can never admit it makes mistakes and always attacks anyone who disagrees with them.

After eight years of the same narcissistic cr*p, can’t we do better?

Here’s the video. I’m sure everyone’s seen it. But remember to it is slowed down. Just like in the NFL, slow motion softens the violence. I wonder at full speed how hard she’s jerked.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wry3LB2KaSI

    JohnBonaccorsi-Phila in reply to archer52. | March 16, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    My understanding is that criminal battery (as opposed to civil battery) involves either recklessness or intent to harm. Can you elaborate on your apparent impression that the yanking of Ms. Fields met that standard? Also–are you sure there was no security concern that justified the yanking? On the internet, I’ve encountered one or two remarks to the effect that Ms. Fields touched Trump or moved so as to give the impression she would touch him. In the whole of the circumstances, there might have been other security concerns as well.

    PS I’m not sure Lewandowski’s denial was a lie. He might simply have thought that the incident, as described by whoever first reported it, was not something in which he’d been involved. My own vision, incidentally, is not strong enough to enable me to draw from the videos any real conclusions as to the events.

    JohnBonaccorsi-Phila in reply to archer52. | March 16, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    PS I’m not sure the distinction I mentioned in my previous reply to you obtains in Florida. I mean the distinction between civil and criminal battery. The following, which I found on the internet, is from Section 784.03 of Title XLVI of the 2015 Florida statutes:

    1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:
    1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
    2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.

    The following, which I guess is up to date, is from Section 2701, Title 18, of Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes:

    Simple assault.
    (a) Offense defined.–Except as provided under section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), a person is guilty of assault if he:
    (1) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
    (2) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
    (3) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;

    Those two statutes–from two different jurisdictions within the U.S.–seem to me to treat a basic, long-recognized crime quite differently. In Florida, as you see, a mere unwanted touching is criminal battery; in Pennsylvania, on the other hand, criminality of the touching requires the intentional, knowing, or reckless causing of injury. I don’t know whether Pennsylvania recognizes, say, some battery tort that does not involve intentional, knowing, or reckless causing of harm; but Florida apparently classes as crime all unwanted touching, whether it causes injury and whether there is any intention to injure.

    If I’m correct about that difference, between the laws in those two states, it’s a pretty significant one.

JohnBonaccorsi-Phila | March 16, 2016 at 11:36 pm

PS I’m not sure the distinction I mentioned in my previous reply to you obtains in Florida. I mean the distinction between civil and criminal battery. The following, which I found on the internet, is from Section 784.03 of Title XLVI of the 2015 Florida statutes:

1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:
1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.

The following, which I guess is up to date, is from Section 2701, Title 18, of Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes:

Simple assault.
(a) Offense defined.–Except as provided under section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), a person is guilty of assault if he:
(1) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
(2) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
(3) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;

Those two statutes–from two different jurisdictions within the U.S.–seem to me to treat a basic, long-recognized crime quite differently. In Florida, as you see, a mere unwanted touching is criminal battery; in Pennsylvania, on the other hand, criminality of the touching requires the intentional, knowing, or reckless causing of injury. I don’t know whether Pennsylvania recognizes, say, some battery tort that does not involve intentional, knowing, or reckless causing of harm; but Florida apparently classes as crime all unwanted touching, whether it causes injury and whether there is any intention to injure.

If I’m correct about that difference, between the laws in those two states, it’s a pretty significant one.

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