First, Mike Cernovich notes how politically widespread the anti-Trump campaign hoax was:
Consider how deep this media hoax goes.
Michelle Fields, a “conservative,” fabricated a story with Ben Terris, a “liberal.”
Jabin Botsford of the Washington Post lied about being at the event, and then hid evidence that would have exposed the hoax.
Lloyd Grove of the liberal Daily Beast made up conversations to support Fields’ story.
Ben Shapiro, a “conservative,” used these fabricated sources and false accusations to demand that a man lose his job.
And everyone in the media kept running with the story, attacking skeptical readers like us. Moreover, a journalist who asked to see a video of the hoax was fired from his job.
The media is rotten to the core. Can you believe anything you read?
And there are some speculating just how deep the rot runs. A reader writes:
Suffice it to say that in the specific context of internal controls, my alarm bells went off when Fields’ non-event appeared on the front page of Breitbart, accompanied by a glamour shot and the title, “Michelle Fields, In Her Own Words,” or something to that effect. It struck me as odd – basically, my “crap detectors” started to tingle. The first question that popped into my mind was, who made the editorial decision to print this? Failure #1.
Oddly, many Breitbart reporters began to publicly and vociferously back her up. I say “oddly” because to any honest and rational person, there were a lot of unanswered questions, and given the venue, it would be normal for people to be bumped and jostled, highly unlikely that no one saw the battery that she alleged, and that there would be no Secret Service report on it. This public commentary, much of it personal and emotional, was unprofessional and ill-advised. Don’t they have an internal policy on this? If they do, why was it not enforced? Failure #2.
During this time, Joel Pollack, a Breitbart editor and in-house counsel, posted video as it came in, being very careful not to read too much into things. Personally, I think he did a pretty good job with this.
Breitbart suddenly suspended a reporter, Patrick Howley, who quite reasonably called for video of the incident, alleged to have occurred at an event filled with dozens of cameras and journalists. Fields and others spun this in her favor. Failure #3.
Breitbart publicist Kurt Bardella publicly and messily resigned, citing Breitbart’s handling of the situation as his primary reason for doing so. Once again, Fields and company used this to bolster her story. Failure #4.
The very next day, internal Breitbart emails from Joel Pollack were leaked to and published on Buzzfeed. Pollack was doing exactly the right thing in those emails – telling staffers to send him information and to stop commenting on the story. That is just basic risk mitigation 101. I have no idea what was going on behind the scenes, but I suspect that Breitbart was getting more information about Fields, et al, from other sources, and may have been contacted by legal counsel for other parties. Nevertheless, SOMEONE leaked those emails, which were then used by Fields and her supporters to give her credibility and in the process to attack Pollack and Breitbart. Failure #5.
Late Sunday night, Shapiro and Fields “resigned.” Here, I disagree with some of the comments I’ve seen around the internet regarding Shapiro’s future prospects. He’ll be just fine, at least for as long as he can be of service to certain parties. Shapiro wanted to leave Breitbart a couple years ago to focus on his new venture, The Daily Wire, but Breitbart allegedly bent over backwards to give him what he wanted so that he would stay with them in some capacity. Yesterday, a blogger discovered that The Daily Wire is funded by the billionaire Wilks brothers who fund a Ted Cruz SuperPac. It was after additional video and news about the funding behind the Daily Wire was going viral that Shapiro and Fields resigned.
This morning, you posted a Breitbart satire about Shapiro’s departure, and once again it gets very interesting. The original piece was entitled something along the lines of “Shapiro Betrays Loyal Readers,” but the link itself was very odd: http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/03/14/futures-markets-wrap-dow-continues-uncertain-climb/. What does that piece have to do with the futures markets? Nothing. It’s almost as if someone hid the piece behind a deceptive URL to get past internal editorial controls. If you click on the link now, my suspicion is confirmed because the old story is gone, and instead you will find this statement by Joel Pollack:
“The article was written by me as part of an effort to make light of a significant company event, and was published as a result of a misunderstanding without going through the normal editorial channels. I apologize to Michelle Fields, my friend Ben Shapiro, and to everyone concerned.”
Something big is going on at Breitbart. Before I read SJWAL, I would have assessed this as incompetence, a failure of training and oversight, and the need for more robust internal controls. Now, I don’t. and it looks like it could be covert SJW entryism or something along those lines. This is simply my opinion, but it looks like someone is targeting Joel Pollack, given the leaks of his emails and the latest event. I also believe that one or more people with editorial control have been making decisions that create problems for Breitbart and diminish the site’s credibility.
I’m not sure whether it shows more arrogance, stupidity, or desperation that the perpetrators of the Armageddon Hoax would try to make hay out of such an obviously weak case, but the dishonesty and the repeated doubling-down precludes any possibility of it having been a series of accidents or mistakes.
It does, however, strike me that we might need to develop the concept of a “posture cascade”, similar to a preference cascade, in which the sum total of people striking knowingly false poses creates an unintended situation that takes on momentum of its own.
UPDATE: Cry us a river, little guy. No wonder conservatives always lost with “opinion leaders” like this.
Shapiro’s father, the writer David Shapiro, also resigned from Breitbart on Sunday evening.
According to the younger Shapiro, his father was hired under the pseudonym to protect his safety since the younger Shapiro said he received so many death threats for his writings.
“Breitbart put this under his byline because they knew I’d have to out him,” Shapiro said in an interview on Monday, adding that by linking to his profile with the California State Bar the site exposed personal information, though that information is outdated. “The fact they would use my father’s pseudonym in order to attack me just exposes how despicable they are.”
Now, wasn’t it Ben Shapiro who said people should be hunted down and lose their jobs for holding opinions other people didn’t like? Guess what, Ben? You’re fair game for everyone and anyone now.