Politico reporter Alex Thompson was covering Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign, that is until the Massachusetts senator pulled out of the race on Thursday. Tensions appeared to have simmered between the reporter and a few of Warren's former staffers out on the campaign trail.
On Twitter, Warren's ex-staffers used their newfound free time to attack Thompson for what the former staffers characterize as the reporter's unfair coverage of Sen. Warren. Mr. Thompson defended his coverage in a tweet featuring a montage of some of the attacks lobbed by the candidate's former staffers.
Sarah Castle accused the reporter of "DMing every young staffer on all campaigns in order to get click bait & sensationalized stories." Catie Forthofer accused the reporter of choosing "to drive the narrative by only reporting on the struggles, rather than successes." And Ally Benjamin simply told the reporter to "Eat sh**." The nastiness of the Warren campaign appears to have extended far beyond the candidate.
Mr. Thompson responded to several of the attacks by saying it wasn't his job to actively support Warren through his reporting, and he accused the former staffers of not understanding the nature of campaign journalism.
Some Warren campaign staffers don’t have a good understanding of campaign journalism.— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) March 7, 2020
Not my job to “actively support the candidate that you were assigned”
It is my job to contact as many ppl as possible rather than just rely on what the campaign wants to give me. pic.twitter.com/GjSDQ4i5ii
Warren's Communications Director Kirsten Orthman tweeted a reminder to the former team saying, "inappropriate language toward other campaigns or the press is never what our campaign or [Elizabeth Warren] is about."
Reminder to @TeamWarren - I understand being upset. I am too. But inappropriate language toward other campaigns or the press is never what our campaign or @ewarren is about. Let’s keep the fight focused on the issues.— Kristen Orthman (@KristenOrthman) March 7, 2020
A Politico spokeswoman contacted the Washington Examiner, who first reported the story, to defend the reporter's coverage of the campaign. "Alex has established himself as a top-notch reporter on the trail this election cycle," the spokeswoman said. "His coverage of Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, and the 2020 race at large, was sharp, illuminating and accurate. We stand by his reporting."
On the same day the Massachusetts senator ended her bid for the Democratic nomination, Warren argued that presidential candidates are the ones ultimately responsible for online attacks made by their supporters. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow asked the senator in an interview on Thursday to address certain tweets posted by supporters of Bernie Sanders that said "mean things" about Elizabeth Warren.
"I think that's a real problem with this online bullying and sort of organized nastiness," Warren said in the interview. "I want to say for all candidates … we are responsible for the people who claim to be our supporters and do really threatening, ugly, dangerous things to others."
Warren wants Bernie to control comments made by his supporters. She couldn't even control comments made by her staff.