Reporter Assaulted By Trump Campaign: My Bosses At Breitbart News Wanted To Use The Assault To Gain More Access To Trump
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
From the March 14 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
Loading the player reg...
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Michelle, let me start with you. Why did you resign?
MICHELLE FIELDS: Well, I realized that my company didn't have my back. I can't stand with a company that won't stand for me. They knew the truth from the very beginning. My editor, as soon as it happened, had spoken to Corey. He told me that Corey had admitted to it and I was getting an apology, so I stayed quiet. I wasn't going to make a big deal about it. Look, it's bruises. Whatever. It's fine. I thought I'm not going to make a huge deal, and that didn't happen. I never got the apology. Instead they embarked on this smear campaign against me. So they knew the truth, my company knew the truth, and they're siding with Donald Trump. And I have to say when this happened, my Washington editor Matthew Boyle was telling me, oh don't worry, this is going to be great because Donald Trump is going to give us so many exclusives now because they're going to feel like they have to do it because of what they did. This is how my company was looking at this. Instead of saying, wow, what happened, are you okay? Let's defend you. They were thinking that this was a good thing because we would get more access to Donald Trump.
KELLY: They deny, Matthew Boyle and Corey Lewandowski are denying that they had a conversation and produced an email where Corey Lewandowski says to Boyle, you know I never talked to you on the phone and Boyle seems to acknowledge that fact.
FIELDS: Well, let's see what he says if, god forbid, we have to go to court and he's subpoenaed and has to be on the stand testifying under oath.
KELLY: Ben, why did you resign?
BEN SHAPIRO: I resigned because the fact is that Breitbart has unfortunately become a Trump Pravda site. And the problem for me is that once you as any news organization, any media organization, once your loyalty to a political campaign trumps your loyalty to your own reporters, I'm out. That's not something I can back, that's not something anybody decent should back. And I'm disgusted by the fact that my mentor Andrew Breitbart started this organization to fight bullies, and in my opinion this organization has turned into an organization that actually promotes bullies in order to get close contact to a bullying campaign.
KELLY: How did that manifest itself, Ben, prior to the Michelle incident, you know, the fealty to Trump? People call it Trumpbart.
SHAPIRO: Well I mean, yeah, I mean the fact is that I think any objective observer of Trump -- of Breitbart News could see for months that Breitbart had become a very, very strong advocate for Donald Trump. And look, that's their prerogative. Any media organization has the ability to set editorial. The problem for me became absolutely clear when they decided to abandon their own reporter and indeed undercut their own reporter. On Friday, they attempted to run a story, a very poorly evidenced story, in which they suggested that not only had Michelle basically botched the story but so had Ben Terris over at The Washington Post by misidentifying Lewandowski as a Secret Service agent. They did this on Breitbart. This is the site that Michelle reports for. Once your loyalty again outweighs, your loyalty to a campaign outweighs your loyalty to the people who work for you, that's something Andrew Breitbart never would have stood for. If Andrew Breitbart were alive today, Andrew Breitbart would have been down in Florida getting in Corey Lewandowski's face and Donald Trump's face and demanding an apology for Corey Lewandowski grabbing and bruising Michelle.
KELLY: Michelle, when you, you know, when this videotape came out today or yesterday, showing actual contact between you and Corey, which he had denied, his supporters said this proves that this is a hoax, that Michelle Fields was not assaulted. She wasn't thrown to the ground, which you had not alleged but other people suggested. And they believe that this does not show a criminal assault. Your response to those folks.
FIELDS: Well, I didn't want to file a criminal complaint. I never wanted to do that. The reason I did is because I was being accused of putting makeup on my arm to show that there were bruises. I needed a report to show people that this happened. And let me say, Corey in the beginning said he had never met me before, that I was delusional, that this did not happen. Now if you look at the campaign's approach and their spokesperson Katrina Pierson's approach, it's that well, it did happen, but it wasn't that hard. This is a campaign that continues to lie. I never wanted it to get this way. Those bruises will heal. My problem is the smearing of my name, my reputation. I have to fight back.
KELLY: First they said that there was no video of the incident. Now we've seen that's true. Then they said there were no recorders who witnessed it --
FIELDS: And no eyewitnesses.
KELLY: And that's not true, The Washington Post. Then they said he never had any contact with you, and now we've seen that is not true. Although those who suggested that you'd been pushed down to the ground, you know, in one report, they said that that's obviously not true either. Ben, I want to ask you about the smear, because, boy, Corey Lewandowski, who, you know, it may be known to our viewers, has issued threats before --
SHAPIRO: To you, yeah.
KELLY: Came after her and tried to, I mean, they're basically trying to destroy her, Michelle's reputation. Saying that she's an attention seeker, that she tries to make herself the story, that she fabricates things. That's the implication. There's an article out today suggesting that that is a sexist smear. Your thoughts?
SHAPIRO: It is a sexist smear. I mean, the fact that Corey Lewandowski was putting out reports from discredited websites, that he was accusing Michelle of being an attention seeker who had done this sort of thing in past in order to gain attention for herself. You know, all that Corey Lewandowski had to do to stop this was apologize, essentially, and say that he didn't mean to do it. That's basically all that would have stopped this. Instead he decided to lie and to smear, and Breitbart decided to go right along with that.
KELLY: So why is this a story? I mean Ben, in your view, Ben, apart from, you know, the implosion of Breitbart and it's part of the civil war that we're seeing in some, you know, from some on the right, why is this a story?
SHAPIRO: Well, I mean, I think the idolatrous worship of the Trump campaign by some people in the media leading to them covering up the truth is a major story and as you say, I think it's, again, a story because the Trump campaign never acknowledges mistakes, never acknowledges their responsibility for violence, never acknowledges anything that they do wrong. It's a no-apologies campaign. That's why he's popular. But that does have consequences and it does have victims. In this case, it was just a bruise on the arm. But you know, there are other cases where it's more than that.