A text message exchange presented by Breitbart News's Washington editor in an effort to vindicate Donald Trump's campaign manager of having admitted that he assaulted a Breitbart reporter, actually reveals a problematic relationship between Trump's campaign and right-wing media outlet Bretbart News, which downplayed the event in the text messages as just a “misunderstanding.”
On March 9, Politico wrote that Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields had been “forcibly grabbed” by Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at a campaign event as she attempted to ask the candidate a question. The incident was confirmed by The Washington Post's Ben Terris and Fields recounted the event in an article posted to Breitbart.com:
Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.
The Washington Post's Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.
Following the incident, The Daily Beast reported that Lewandowski acknowledged to Boyle that he was responsible for the incident with Fields, but justified his actions by saying he had mistaken her for “an adversarial member of the mainstream media.”
Boyle responded claiming The Daily Beast's article was “entirely inaccurate and untrue.” Boyle released screenshots of his correspondence with Lewandowski in attempt to vindicate his claim that he never acknowledged an altercation with Fields.
The text conversation reveals a cozy relationship between Breitbart News and the Trump campaign with Boyle suggesting that the incident which happened to his colleague was just a “misunderstanding nothing bad” and emphasizing that he wanted to “make sure that this doesn't turn into a big story.”
Breitbart News CEO and president Larry Solov is also being accused of downplaying the event after he released a statement casting doubt that the incident ever took place:
But in a statement issued late Tuesday night, Breitbart News CEO and president Larry Solov seemed reluctant to take the word of Fields and other witnesses, instead framing the incident as something that maybe happened, but maybe didn't:
“It's obviously unacceptable that someone crossed a line and make physical contact with our reporter. What Michelle has told us directly is that someone ” grabbed her arm" and while she did not see who it was, Ben Terris of the Washington Post told her that it was Corey Lewandowski. If that's the case,
Michelle Fields has since reportedly filed charges against Lewandowski.