Breitbart “Reporter” Got Kicked Out of a Beto O’Rourke Event & There’s Far Too Much Pearl-Clutching Going On
A representative from the ultra-conservative, white nationalist propaganda rag Breitbart was ejected from a Beto O’Rourk event at Benedict College this week. According to that reporter, Joel Pollak, he was asked to leave because O’Rourke “has decided that he is entitled to abuse members of the press who cannot be relied upon to provide favorable coverage.”
It’s hard to know if that’s actually what happened, though, because very few major media outlets besides Breitbart and other alt-right sites are reporting on it. There are, however, a lot of real journalists from reputable outlets tweeting about the incident, many of whom are criticizing O’Rourke and his campaign staff.
Like The Washington Post:
Beto O’Rourke Ejects Breitbart News Reporter from Event https://t.co/BloqALsmXR
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) August 28, 2019
The New York Times:
This is WRONG and hypocritical for any candidate, or come
to think of it, any American https://t.co/leXWobEiZe
— Elizabeth Williamson (@NYTLiz) August 28, 2019
I really don’t get why campaigns do this. There’s no benefit to it. A. you shouldn’t. B. You have to deal with the inevitable headlines that come out of it. https://t.co/kZtLwEa2L2
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) August 28, 2019
And the Daily Beast:
If this account is accurate, it’s a pretty weak move by Team Beto. https://t.co/zdjtvLcLvN
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) August 27, 2019
All of this outrage is rooted in the idea that Breitbart is a legitimate news outlet and that its employees deserve to be treated like journalists and not the alt-right propaganda-pushers that make the site what it is.
Josh, are you really tweeting out Breitbart when you know full well that this glorified blog that’s shot-through with racism, sexism and general bigotry has also trafficked in dishonesty in verifiably false information?
Congratulations on legitimizing them as a “journalists”.
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) August 28, 2019
🗣🗣 BREITBART NEWS ISN’T NEWS. IT’S WHITE SUPREMACIST PROPAGANDA.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS https://t.co/dGg6n28COZ
— Imani Gandy🔥 (@AngryBlackLady) August 28, 2019
Freedom of the press does not entail “every ranting racist blogger must be welcomed at every event.”
It is concerning when politicians display systematic antipathy towards the free press.
But this ain’t that. https://t.co/KTSOaa9A8K
— Mangy Jay (@magi_jay) August 28, 2019
Radical right-wing propaganda posing as legitimate news has been eroding American democracy for decades. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. If you stand up for Breitbart’s supposed “right” to “journalistic” access, you are enabling fascism.#BreitbartIsNotNews #Resist
— Chrissy Stroop (@C_Stroop) August 28, 2019
on the other hand, it’s kind of useful to see which reporters think Defending Journalism means caping for a place that had a “black crime” tag page https://t.co/1oHrdpDMOZ
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) August 28, 2019
Your lack of standards for anybody who slaps on a “journalist” label really makes me wonder what standards, if any, you have for your colleagues and your own work.
— William Pietri (@william) August 28, 2019
Also, according to Pollak’s own report, it wasn’t O’Rourke’s staff but campus police that asked him to leave. Which makes sense because not only is Benedict a Historically Black College and therefore no place where a bigotry-based outlet should feel entitled to be, but by many accounts, this was a CLOSED EVENT, not open to the press in the first place.
Another reply has already pointed out this was a private event at an HBCU, not a public rally and not listed on the campaign’s page along with its other public events. We have NYT and WaPo reporters boosting Breitbart as factual. Embarrassing.
— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) August 28, 2019
To see major news sources not just tweeting out a Breitbart article without fact-checking, but actually defending that article is incredibly embarrassing. By all accounts, this looks like a stunt designed to get the exact reaction it did.
(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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