Wingnut Week In Review: The Breitbart Breakup

Terrance Heath

Once again proving the bigger bully, Donald Trump may have caused the wingnut media site Breitbart News to self-destruct, after his campaign manager assaulted one of the site’s reporters.

It all started at a Trump press conference in Jupiter, Florida, when Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields tried asking Trump a question as he left, and Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski “forcibly grabbed” her, “moving her out of the way and nearly bringing her to the ground.” Washington Post reporter Ben Terries witness the incident, and wrote an account in his column, which closely matched Fields’ version of events. Politico posted audio and a transcript of the incident. Daily Caller* editor, and Fields’ boyfriend, Jaime Weinstein also identified Lewandowski as the culprit. Fields posted a photo of the finger-shaped bruises that Terris reported having seen appear on her arm after the incident. The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove wrote an article which said the “Lewandowski acknowledged to Breitbart’s Washington political editor, Matthew Boyle, that he did manhandle Fields.”

What should have happened next seems pretty cut-and-dried. Any political campaign with an ounce of integrity would have fired Lewandowski and denounced his actions. But Trump’s campaign isn’t like that, anymore than Trump is like any candidate in modern political history.

The Trump campaign went on the attack almost immediately, smearing Fields and defending Lewandowski — who has a history of bullying, intimidation, and misogyny. The Trump campaign issued a statement labeling Fields as a lying “attention seeker,” and denied that the incident ever happened. Trump himself told CNN, “Perhaps she made the story up. I think that’s what happened,” despite eyewitness accounts, audio evidence, and photographs of Field’s bruises.

Again, what should have happened next seems pretty clear. Any decent news organization would have risen to the defense of it’s reporter, denounced the attack, and demanded that the campaign fire Lewandowski.

Instead, management at Breitbart News sought to exploit the incident to gain more access to Trump, and ordered employees to stop defending their colleague.

Resignations, and more strangeness, soon followed.

This wouldn’t happen at a normal news organization. But Breitbart has never been a normal news organization, or even a real news organization. Founded by and named for the late right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart, the site pretty much continued his own brand of absurd smears and malicious lies pursued without much thought for the truth. From its launch with an exclusive of right-wing videographer James O’Keefe’s hoax “investigation of ACORN,” Breitbart was instrumental in perfecting the right-wing tactic of using smear campaigns based on lies to bring down progressive individuals and institutions.

Andrew Breitbart claimed his mission was to “fight the bullies” on the left, instead he employed classic bullying strategies in attempts to bring down innocent and undeserving targets, like Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod. So, it seems entirely appropriate and in character than when confronted by a right-wing bully, leadership at Breitbart News knuckled under.

Here’s best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:

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