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Michelle Fields Never Claimed to Have Been Pulled to the Ground
Last night on the O'Reilly Factor, a surrogate for Donald Trump named Jeff DeWit was interviewed in the opening segment about the much talked about controversy involving former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
For those of you who haven't been following the news this week, I'll quickly catch you up to speed on the story:
On Tuesday, Lewandowski was charged by the police in Jupiter, Florida with simple assault on Fields. The charged stemmed from an incident that took place on March 8th, when Lewandowski grabbed and allegedly bruised Fields as she was attempting to ask Mr. Trump a question while he was leaving a conference room following an exchange with the press.
Lewandowski denied for many days that the incident had taken place. He claimed to have never even touched Lewandowski, and both he and Trump insisted to reporters that Fields was making up the story.
That narrative came to a screeching halt, however, after a recently released surveillance video showed that Lewandowski had indeed grabbed Fields.
Fast-forward to last night's interview, where Mr. DeWit spoke to guest-host Eric Bolling about the video (below emphasis added by me):
"We wanted that video out there to show that the sequence of events that Miss Fields said happened did not happen that way," said DeWit. "So uh, I know we wanted that video out there because it obviously substantiates what Corey has been saying, which is that she was not pulled to the ground in any way."
Bolling asked DeWit about how members of the media are required to identify themselves at political press conferences, and then offered his own analysis of what he saw in the video:
"It looks to me like Michelle Fields doesn't actually fall to the ground. I don't see anywhere where she falls. But it also looks to me like Corey did in fact touch her at some point. Now, I wasn't there so I don't know for sure, Corey Lewandowski in the aftermath of that tweeted, saying that Michelle was delusional, and that he didn't touch her — didn't know her. That...I think both of those accounts from both sides may not be perfectly accurate. Am I...Where am I missing this?"
DeWit made a joke about how many times the video has been analyzed and then added, "What Corey was saying was, after...right after the event, when she was coming out and making these claims that she was dragged to the ground, he knew that he had not dragged anybody to the ground. And so, what he was denying, was saying, 'Look, I have no idea what this woman is talking about. I never dragged anybody to the ground.'"
Now, both DeWit and Bolling were quite right about one thing: Michelle Fields was neither pulled nor dragged to the ground. The video makes that clear.
What I found frustrating about the interview was the repeated accusation that Fields had at some point claimed to have been pulled or dragged to the ground. She never has. Ever. She has maintained all along exactly what she wrote shortly after the incident:
"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... Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground, no matter the circumstance."
Despite the fact that both Trump and his defenders have relentlessly claimed that Fields has changed her story at different times throughout this controversy, fact-checkers have demonstrated that she hasn't.
Fields may have believed that Lewandowski's intent was to knock her to the ground (another journalist who witnessed the encounter seemed to share that same sentiment), but she has maintained all along that she had remained on her feet.
Trump's spokespeople know the truth. They know Fields has never said that she went to the ground. She has in fact been adamant that she didn't go to the ground. This reality has been pointed out by news personalities nearly every time Trump surrogates like Jeff DeWit have appeared on camera, trying to rewrite history and change the story's trajectory with this shameless straw-man argument.
I say "nearly" because DeWit went completely unchallenged multiple times last night when he put forth this calculated, widely-repeated, dishonest claim. Worse yet, Bolling subscribed to the claim and gave it legitimacy. He has to know better, being that he's discussed this topic on The Five, where his co-hosts have pointed out the false narrative.
This kind of thing is wrong and unacceptable. Even on news-analysis shows, guests shouldn't be given a free pass (and especially not help) to willfully lie to the viewing audience. I would hope that all of us can agree on that.