Last night, the Beto O’Rourke campaign ejected Breitbart News reporter Joel B. Pollack from one of their campaign events being held at historically black Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.
The campaign said this reporter had been “disruptive” at two previous events and asked him to voluntarily leave or be “officially uninvited from the campus.”
Seeing as the reporter had at past events used his questions to falsely accuse O’Rourke of “misquoting” the president’s “very fine people” remarks after Charlottesville and the fact that he represents an openly white supremacist publication that was infamous for its “black crime” section, it is very understandable why he wouldn’t be welcome at an event held at a historically black college.
Of course, this immediately prompted an outpouring of crocodile tears from Breitbart, who claimed that they were being repressed and gleefully accused O’Rourke of “hypocrisy” since he has previously spoken about the importance of protecting the free press.
Disturbingly, they were quickly joined by a number of New York Times reporters and even Democratic Party bigwigs like Center for American Progress chief Neera Tanden in tut-tut-tutting the O’Rourke campaign for their sudden affront to the American free press.
Members of the press, wtf?
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) August 28, 2019
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
No matter what you think of Breitbart, this is wrong. No campaign should be deciding who gets to cover its events. An event is either open to the press, or it is not. Freedom of the press is not a conditional right — it applies to every American regardless of their views. https://t.co/BHFxslRxjL
— Matthew Rosenberg (@AllMattNYT) August 28, 2019
In an ever-changing media landscape, the definition of “journalist” and “reporter” has become distorted and muddied as more and more outlets, mostly on the right-wing, abandon all pretense at objectivity and good faith in order to advance partisan agendas — which in the case of Breitbart is open white supremacy.
The Beto campaign’s response to these complaints is spot on and they should be commended for having the guts to prevent journalistic immunity from allowing an outlet that casually referred to Atlantic editor Jeffery Goldberg as a “court Jew,” promotes racist conspiracy theories and acted as a campaign arm for Trump during the 2016 election.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 28, 2019
Nothing they do can be considered “journalism” and thus they do not deserve the same respect and opportunities any more than a representative for the Daily Stormer does.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.