Michelle Fields

Tags ››› Michelle Fields
  • Right-Wing Civil War: Megyn Kelly Trades Barbs With Breitbart Editor-At-Large Over Dangers Of Empowering "Alt-Right"

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak traded attacks about the "alt-right’s" “potentially dangerous” influence in media and their role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

    In a December 7 interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, host Terry Gross discussed the misogynistic attacks and threats from Trump supporters which made it necessary for Kelly to use security for the entire year. Kelly also spoke about the dangers of empowering the "alt-right," and noted the problems one young woman had with Breitbart.com and their "alt-right" supporters when she dared “to say something about the fact that Corey Lewandowski laid hands on her.“ Kelly praised Breitbart’s founder Andrew Breitbart, but said, “if you look at what’s happened to Breitbart over the past three years, it’s shocking:”

    TERRY GROSS (HOST): This is an example of how the “alt-right” -- and the “alt-right” is a rebranding of white nationalists and people who are misogynist, racist -- so, the alt-right has kind of gone after you, ever since your dust-up with Trump at the debate. Are you concerned that president-elect Trump seems to have empowered these people?

    MEGYN KELLY: Well, I do think they are a potentially dangerous force. And you know, even when it comes to the book review -- look, I have a powerful platform. I can come talk to Terry Gross for an hour, but a lot of authors who are on the wrong side of Trump -- take Michelle Fields, right? The one who alleged that Corey Lewandowski had physically assaulted her, Trump’s old campaign manager, she had a book. She doesn’t have the powerful platform.

    She worked for Breitbart, and left when they failed to defend her, and she got targeted by these folks on Amazon, and they killed her book, and that’s not okay. Alright? This woman hasn’t done anything wrong, anything, other than find herself on the wrong end of these folks, for whom she used to work. But even that wasn’t enough to engender any loyalty, or affection for her, because she decided to say something about the fact that Corey Lewandowski laid hands on her. This is a man who threatened me explicitly as well.

    And look, Trump’s got bigger things to worry about than this particular group, but it is also a dangerous game to empower them, as clearly has happened. I mean, Steve Bannon is -- he’s chief advisor to our president-elect. And I understand the argument that he’s just a provocateur, and he comes up with these crazy headlines, and they want clicks, but if you look at what's happened to Breitbart [News] over the past three years, it's shocking.

    I knew Andrew Breitbart very well and he was great. I loved him. He was a true provocateur who would be fun about it, you know. He'd show up at a democratic protest and engage with the protesters and then he'd go have a beer with them. This is something else entirely, and I don't know that Trump can stop it. I don't know who, if anyone, can stop it.

    GROSS: How do you see your role as a journalist in covering the “alt-right?”

    KELLY: It’s precarious, because they will come after you. I mean, they will target you, and they will be relentless about it. But -- so I, again, have this great platform, and I have this powerful company behind me, and I’m lucky to have a company that can look at it with that perspective. I think other organizations need to keep that in mind, that it doesn’t -- when I say you’re going to have to steel your spine, you know, to cover this White House and deal with some of Trump’s supporters, I mean it could affect your pocketbook as a news organization.

    [...]

    KELLY: Look at my case, Terry. If somebody gets targeted by this group physically, and they have death threats, how much money can a news organization expend to provide that person with a bodyguard? At some point, real dollars get involved here in these decisions. And, you know, that’s -- that’s when these news organizations are going to have to find their inner strength.

    In response to Kelly’s criticism of Breitbart and its elevation of “alt-right” white nationalist movement, Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak tweeted Kelly “bashes Breitbart. I’ve never been a critic. Until now, maybe. Would she dare let me defend? I doubt it.”

    The conflict between Megyn Kelly and Breitbart revives long-standing tensions between the Fox News host and the far-right outlet. In March, Kelly invited Michelle Fields, a former Breitbart employee who spoke out against Breitbart leadership’s attempts at “smearing” her reputation. In return, Breitbart has run articles with headlines such as “Steve Bannon: I Warned Roger Ailes That Megyn Kelly Would Turn On Him,” and described Newt Gingrich’s insult-laden rant against Kelly as “Gingrich Slams Megyn Kelly For Treatment Of Trump -- ‘You Are Fascinated With Sex And You Don’t Care About Public Policy.”

  • Right-Wing Media’s Favorite Myths About Planned Parenthood

    As Planned Parenthood Celebrates 100 Years Of Providing Essential Health Care, A Look Back At Right-Wing Media’s Most Common Smears About The Organization

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On October 16, Planned Parenthood celebrated 100 years of providing quality reproductive health care to millions of Americans. Despite the essential role Planned Parenthood has and continues to play in facilitating access to both primary and reproductive health care, right-wing media have frequently provided a platform for numerous smears and misinformation about the organization. Here are right-wing media’s favorite myths about Planned Parenthood.

  • The Guide To Donald Trump's War On The Press (So Far)

    ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has an extensive history of attacking the media, and his campaign and supporters have joined in the fight throughout the election. The nominee, his surrogates, and his supporters have called media outlets and reporters across the spectrum “dishonest,” “neurotic,” “dumb,” and a “waste of time,” and until recently, the campaign had a media blacklist of outlets that weren’t allowed into campaign events.

  • Former Breitbart Employees Slam Bannon’s “Nightmare” New Role In Trump Campaign

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Former Breitbart News staffers are slamming the announcement that Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon will serve as the new “chief executive” of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign. Several former staffers are calling out the “pathetic and disgusting” relationship between the outlet and the Trump campaign and are calling for greater scrutiny of Bannon’s leadership at Breitbart News and his relationship with Trump.

  • How Trump’s New Campaign Chief Executive Prioritized Trump Over His Own Reporter At Breitbart News

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Steve Bannon, who as executive chairman of Breitbart News refused to fully back one of his reporters when she was allegedly assaulted by Donald Trump’s then-campaign manager, has now been hired by the Republican presidential nominee as his campaign chief executive officer.

    Bannon is taking a leave of absence from Breitbart to work on Trump’s campaign. Under Bannon, Breitbart News shilled for Trump and was reportedly paid by the candidate to publish “fawning headlines” about his campaign. In June, reports surfaced that a major investor in the outlet was bankrolling a pro-Trump super PAC.

    Bannon also sided with Trump in March when Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields alleged that Trump’s then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, forcibly grabbed her and pulled her towards the ground. Fields subsequently filed charges against Lewandowski, but despite Fields sharing pictures of her bruises as evidence, Trump and Lewandowski denied the incident occurred and claimed it was “made up.”

    Rather than defend its reporter, Breitbart and its leadership immediately moved to downplay the assault and discredit Fields. Bannon, according to Politico, “made several disparaging remarks about [Fields] in conference calls with company leadership.” Breitbart’s president, Larry Solov, released a statement casting doubt on Fields’ account of the incident, saying “if” Lewandowski was the person that grabbed Fields then “Corey owes Michelle an immediate apology.” And reporter Matthew Boyle, in a text to Lewandowski immediately after the incident, wrote that it “sounds to me like it was a misunderstanding.” According to BuzzFeed, Breitbart senior editor Joel Pollak ordered staff not to publicly defend Fields, telling them in chats, “You may wish to defend your colleague, and that is commendable — but keep in mind that when you do so, you are also putting other colleagues under direct public pressure, so you are actually hurting some to help another.”

    Breitbart then published a story on March 11 that claimed, “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." That same day, Fields filed charges against Lewandowski.

    Several Breitbart employees resigned in protest of Bannon and Breitbart’s hedging, charging the outlet with prizing its relationship with Trump over its own employee. Former Breitbart spokesman Kurt Badella told CNN that “there seemed to be resistance from Breitbart in supporting Michelle” because “there is a desire to want to believe the Trump campaign, and believe the statement that Corey and Donald Trump have come out [with].” Reporter Ben Shapiro in his resignation statement wrote that Bannon was “a bully, and has sold out [Andrew Breitbart’s] mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump.” Shapiro later told Fox News that Breitbart had “unfortunately become a Trump Pravda site” where “loyalty to a political campaign trump[ed] [its] loyalty to [its] own reporters.” Breitbart responded to Shapiro’s criticism by publishing an article mocking him written under a pseudonym of Shapiro’s father, which Pollak later claimed was “written in jest.”

    Fields also resigned from Breitbart, saying, “I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.” She also told Fox she believed Breitbart believed her alleged assault “was a good thing because we would get more access to Donald Trump.”

    Lewandowski was eventually charged by Florida police for assault, although the charges were later dropped. Police also released video showing the incident did indeed occur.

  • How Conservative Media Enabled Trump’s Outrageous Lies

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & JARED HOLT

    Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and conservative media figures repeatedly enabled each other to spread baseless smears and outright lies throughout the Republican presidential primary election cycle. Voices in conservative media repeatedly legitimized Trump’s debunked conspiracies, policy proposals, and statistics, some of which echoed longtime narratives from prominent right-wing media figures.

  • Trump Denies Evidence, Says Breitbart Reporter "Made Up" Story Of Assault By Campaign Manager

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Front-runner Donald Trump denied accusations that his campaign manager pushed a Breitbart News reporter claiming, "perhaps she made the story up." The story has been corroborated by several reporters and Politico released audio evidence of the incident.

    On March 9, Politico reported that Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields was "forcibly grabbed" by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as she attempted to ask Trump a question. According to Politico, Fields was "clearly roughed up" and the incident was confirmed by The Washington Post's Ben Terris. Furthermore, on Twitter, Fields shared a photograph of bruises on her arm which she alleged were a result of the altercation with Lewandowski. Politico also posted audio of the incident after the Trump campaign and Lewandowski denied it took place.

    Following the March 10, CNN GOP Debate, Donald Trump refuted the incident took place saying, "nobody saw anything" and there was no video or photographic evidence. In another interview, Trump doubled down on his denial claiming, "Perhaps she made the story it up."

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Dana, Trump was not asked tonight about these allegations that his campaign manager assaulted a female reporter, who worked for the pro-Trump blog Breitbart.com. He's denied, Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager has denied that this happened. Trump was asked about it, here is what he said moments ago.

    [Begin Clip]

    DONALD TRUMP: Absolutely nothing happened. He didn't hear about it until, like, the next day. So, and I wasn't involved in it, but the Secret Service was surrounding everybody, they said nothing happened. Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up, I think that's what happened.

    [End Clip]

  • Fox Spins Trump Into The Victim Of His Campaign Manager's Battery Charge

    ››› ››› DAYANITA RAMESH

    After police arrested Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's campaign manager, and charged him with simple battery of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, Fox News attempted to paint Trump as the real victim in the incident. Fox hosts and guests dismissed the matter as a "tragedy for the Trump campaign," claimed the campaign had entered into the "theater ... of the absurd," and noted that Trump's "got to be ticked off" at having to discuss the battery charge instead of substantive issues.