There has been a controversy raging around Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields' claim that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbed her by the arm and tried to toss her to the ground after a recent Trump rally in Florida.
Fields has bruises on her arm, there's video proving something happened to her, and Washington Post reporter Ben Terris was right there when it happened.
As security parted the masses to give him passage out of the chandelier-lit ballroom, Michelle Fields, a young reporter for Trump-friendly Breitbart News, pressed forward to ask the Republican front-runner a question. I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager.
Fields stumbled. Finger-shaped bruises formed on her arm.
“I’m just a little spooked,” she said, a tear streaming down her face. “No one has grabbed me like that before.”
She took my arm and squeezed it hard. “I don’t even want to do it as hard as he did,” she said, “because it would hurt.”
At first, Breitbart stood by their young reporter, even as they were faced with a dilemma. How could they stand by Fields while still serving as the primary online mouthpiece for Donald Trump, as they have for months now?
Today their spokesman Kurt Bardella resigned, citing his reluctance to turn on Fields in order to defend Breitbart's determination to stay loyal to Trump.
Speaking to CNN, Bardella said, "I just disagree with the course of which they've been covering this, how they've treated Michelle. i think they've been looking for a reason to disprove something."
When asked whether he thought Breitbart was lying, Bardella answered simply, "Yes, I am."
Bardella went on to explain that it's no secret that they've been one of the primary cheerleaders for Trump, and that placed them in a conflict. Did they support their reporter, who by all accounts was manhandled by Lewandowski and risk their relationship with Trump? Or do they throw her under the bus?
Apparently, the decision is to toss her under the bus.
"When you've gone all in so much for a candidate, you know, when you have that kind of skin in the game, you don't want to see that derailed," Bardella explained. "I think it's been very obvious in the coverage. I don't think they've hidden that or they would dispute that. They're very much pro-Trump, which is personally something i have an issue with. i'm not pro-Trump."
"I think Donald Trump has been a disruptive force. You are seeing violence and it's not just an isolated incident. It's a pattern of behavior, whether it's toward a reporter, a spectator, a supporter or opposition, nobody is safe. at what point does somebody draw the line and say enough is for that. Enough and take responsibility."
It's shameful that Breitbart News is willing to gaslight their own reporter in order to keep their special standing with Trump. And make no mistake, they do have a special relationship.
One of the more telling moments in this whole kerfuffle is this exchange between Fields and Terris:
Fields: “Nothing. I was asking about affirmative action."
Terris: “And he probably knows you, right?"
Fields: “Yeah, I don’t understand. That looks horrible. You’re going after a Breitbart reporter, the people who are nicest to you?"
Terris: “I know, I’m going to put it in my story.
Of course, we've always known that Breitbart lies. It's just unusual to see one of their highly-paid public relations people actually stand up, resign, and admit it.