Claims of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign manager assaulting Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields has caused a ripple effect, resulting in four members of the online news outlet’s staff quitting.
According to Fields, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski assaulted her after attempting to ask Trump a question during a campaign event.
“Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down,” Fields wrote in an article for Breitbart published March 10. “I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.”
Fields posted a photo on Twitter on March 10, showing a bruised arm.
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 10, 2016
Trump’s campaign denies Field’s story and Breitbart published an article casting doubt against her account of the incident.
“New video of Donald Trump’s press conference Tuesday evening shows that the Washington Post’s account of an altercation involving Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields could not possibly have happened as Ben Terris reported,” wrote Breitbart’s Joel Pollak.
— Mike Warren (@MichaelRWarren) March 11, 2016
On Fox New’s The Kelly File, Fields explained the alleged assault to Megyn Kelly. In the video below, Kelly shows the timing of the encounter in a newly released video starting at the 9:00 mark.
Two more Breitbart staffers quit on Monday, accusing the organization of being “an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign.”
Both Jordan Schachtel, national security correspondent, and Jarrett Stepman, associate editor, resigned at noon Monday according to reports on Twitter.
“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,” Schachtel’s statement concluded.
Stepman also released a 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.
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.”
Former Breitbart employee Kurt Bardella told Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook his thoughts on the exodus of his colleagues.
“I think people have to follow their conscience and do what they think is right for them and for their livelihood. Beyond that, it’s not for me to judge how other people want to navigate these very challenging waters,” Bardella said.
As of this publication, Breitbart has not replied on the record to Cook’s request for a statement regarding the resignations.