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Breitbart Tag

I guess this was inevitable. A website that played a large role in creating momentum for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination, and to a much lesser extent the presidency, could not continue with someone at the helm who now was persona non grata with Donald Trump and his family. Either Brietbart News had to change, or Steve Bannon had to go.

On CNN this morning, Chris Cuomo said to Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, "Breitbart is using you as a poster boy. You know that is the president's viewing of choice. He loves to see what they put out. They are using you as the poster boy that Susan Rice was politically motivated in unmasking." Cuomo told Lee, "it does seem as though you're saying Rice has to prove it wasn't politically motivated for me to believe that it wasn't. And that's not fair." Retorted Lee: "That is an absolutely absurd manipulation of what I said. That is not at all what I said. I did in fact say that something like this could have happened. I did in fact say it's not absurd to suggest something like this could have happened. And every time I've said anything like that, it's been accompanied by 'I don't know what Susan Rice did. I don't know the facts of the case."

In less than a week, professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos went from rising star to exiled disgrace. Yiannopoulos' story is truly tragic, but one with an inevitable conclusion. Milo was invited to keynote this week's Conservative Political Action Committee Conference (CPAC), only to be disinvited after comments he made about pederasty surfaced. Reportedly, CPAC board members were kept in the dark about Milo's invite. Shortly thereafter, Milo lost a cushy book deal with Simon and Shuster. Tuesday, Yiannopoulos announced his resignation from Breitbart Tech. "It would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting, so today I am resigning from Breitbart, effectively immediately. This decision is mine alone,” wrote Yiannopoulos in a written statement. "Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved."

The NY Times has a story on how Breitbart News has become a center of political attention this year, and how its traffic and influence is at an all time high. That was the focus of the article, but there was one paragraph that jumped out at me (emphasis added):
Before Mr. Breitbart died, the site had gained notoriety by championing the Tea Party movement and publicizing an undercover video that led to the closing of Acorn, the community organizing group. It also posted misleading footage of Shirley Sherrod, a black Department of Agriculture official, who was fired for seeming to express resentment toward a white farmer; the White House later apologized.
This is not the first time the NY Times has made this accusation. In a 2014 article about Breitbart News, the Times wrote;
At times Breitbart’s attack-the-enemy approach to journalism has landed the news operations in hot water. In 2010, for example, it was criticized for editing a video to make Shirley Sherrod, a former Agriculture Department official, appear to be making racist remarks about white people. The full video showed that she did not.
Wrong. False. Either ignorant or malicious.

Numerous news outlets are reporting that Donald Trump has shifted leadership of his campaign, and named Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon and pollster Kellyanne Conway as de facto leaders of his campaign. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news:
Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, an outspoken Trump supporter and a former Goldman Sachs banker, will assume the new position of campaign chief executive. At the same time, Mr. Trump also is promoting Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP pollster and strategist, to become campaign manager. Ms. Conway has been a campaign adviser for several weeks. Longtime Republican operative Paul Manafort, who joined the campaign late in the primary season, remains campaign chairman. But the reset is designed to bulk up a structure that many Republicans have complained wasn’t adequate for the rigors of the general-election campaign.... “I want to win,” Mr. Trump said in an interview Tuesday night in which he disclosed his hires. “That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
WaPo added:

As Professor Jacobson blogged yesterday, reports suggested the Florida prosecutor would not be filing charges against Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, for the alleged assault of former Breitbart News reporter, Michelle Fields. The backstory on that dramatic saga here.

Back to the Corey Lewandowski saga and his grab of Michelle Fields. Politico reports that the local prosecutor will not pursue the case despite a finding of probable cause by the police:
A Florida prosecutor has decided not to prosecute Donald Trump’s campaign manager for battery after a March run-in with former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO. The decision not to press charges against Corey Lewandowski is scheduled to be announced on Thursday afternoon by Palm Beach County State Attorney David Aronberg....

In assessing why the Michelle Fields - Corey Lewandowski dispute had such media legs, I previously assessed that there was a great dislike of Breitbart News among other media types and bloggers in part because of its treatment of employees, The Michelle Fields controversy is only barely about Michelle Fields:
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.
Non-disparagement clauses -- in which parties agree not to criticize each other -- long have been rumored to be part of Breitbart News employee contracts. Indeed, there was a suggestion in the Breitbart News post about Ben Shapiro -- which was taken down with an apology -- that there might be legal action based on contractual provisions:
Shapiro, a Harvard lawyer and member of the State Bar of California, apparently violated virtually every clause in his employment contract during an appearance on The Kelly File last Thursday evening.
Now Politico reports that unnamed former employees have been getting cease and desist letters:

This story continues to get uglier. To catch up on the Michelle Fields/Trump Campaign/Breitbart News saga, see here, here, and here. 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:

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.

Reports that Donald Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed Breitbart Reporter and Fox News Contributor, Michelle Fields, and threw her to towards the ground surfaced Tuesday evening. Following eyewitness accounts, not to mention a bruised Fields, the overtly Trump friendly website refused to stick up for their reporter. Neither did they demand an apology from Lewandowski. The following day, The Daily Beast pieces the story together in its entirety. I've only included excerpts, but I would suggest reading the piece in its entirety. It's quite disturbing:
The reality television billionaire might also be laying the groundwork for a not-so-brave new world in which a campaign manager can assault a female journalist, while her news organization—in this case the famously Trump-friendly Breitbart News—responds with a mild rebuke in a vague statement perceived by some to be designed to protect the perpetrator.

It's something of a sideshow, but nonetheless interesting. has been all over Marco Rubio for months over the Gang of 8 and immigration in general. I don't think Rubio has responded directly before, or if he did, it was the usual type of campaign responses to media. But last night, on the eve of the South Carolina primary, Breitbart ran a headline story about ICE officers calling out Rubio for dishonesty and betrayal. It got a Drudge Banner link (image via Jim Hoft):

Team Breitbart: We’re going to smack Politico across the face and expose Buzzfeed: Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro took a more bellicose tone, declaring that Breitbart News writers would challenge not only the existing mainstream media for their biased coverage, but also the newer online outlets. “You’ll notice that...