Beto Team Defends Kicking Out Breitbart Journalist Over His ‘Hateful Reporting’

Beto O'Rourke, a 2020 US presidential hopeful, speaks during the "We the People" gathering at the Warner Theatre on April 1, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should re... Beto O'Rourke, a 2020 US presidential hopeful, speaks during the "We the People" gathering at the Warner Theatre on April 1, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign on Wednesday defended its decision to kick out a Breitbart News reporter from a campaign event held at a historically black college earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Breitbart senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak wrote that a member of O’Rourke’s team asked him to leave while the candidate was giving a speech at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.

O’Rourke’s press secretary, Aleigha Cavalier, said in a statement on Wednesday that the campaign “believes in the right to a free press,” but that Breitbart “walks the line between being news and a perpetrator of hate speech.”

“Given this particular Breitbart employee’s previous hateful reporting and the sensitivity of the topics being discussed with students at an HBCU, a campaign staffer made the call to ask him to leave to ensure that the students attending the event felt comfortable and safe while sharing their experiences as young people of color,” Cavalier continued.

A Breitbart spokesperson said Cavalier’s comments were “absurd,” pointing to Pollak’s Jewish faith and his marriage to a black woman as evidence.

The incident echoes fellow 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) refusal to hold a town hall on Fox News, which she described as a “hate-for-profit racket.”

This story has been updated to include Breitbart’s response.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriter:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: