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'I just refuse to bow'
Dave Rubin, comedian and host of "The Rubin Report," told TheWrap that an "outrage mob" sunk a scheduled interview with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, backed out of the interview after reporters from outlets like the Huffington Post, Media Matters, and Vox criticized Buttigieg for agreeing to talk to Rubin.
What's the background?
On May 17, Rubin tweeted, "Media Matters, Vox and now Huff Po trying to scare @PeteButtigieg away from an interview with me. I'd treat him with the exact same decent and respect I've treated every single one of my guests. Why is that so scary to them?"
He later revealed that because of their actions, Buttigieg's team backed out of the interview.
He wrote, "Congrats to Media Matters, Vox and HuffPo! @PeteButtigieg is passing on our interview. A shame, because I think he's a decent man, we have some agreement, some disagreement, and we could've opened up a whole new audience to him. Have followed up, hopefully they'll reconsider."
Rubin also added, "I'm not one for lists, but that would explain Vox's activism guided as journalism. My invite for @PeteButtigieg remains. If he caves to Media Matters, Vox and HuffPo that isn't a good sign for a presidential candidate. Doing what's right often means standing up to the mob."
So what's he saying about all this now?
Rubin spoke to TheWrap for an interview published Thursday, where he decried the "outrage mob" for their actions.
Buttigieg's people pulled out of the interview after reporters from the Huffington Post, Vox, and Media Matters President Angelo Carusone targeted Buttigieg's press secretary with criticism about the decision to appear on "The Rubin Report."
According to TheWrap, one reporter said the interview was a "bad idea," while another said it was "absolute madness."
"How do these people — forget Media Matters for a second — how does a writer at HuffPo or Vox truly look themselves in the mirror and consider themselves a journalist when they're literally trying to pressure politicians from talking to interviewers?" Rubin asked. "They're not journalists, they're activists."
Carusone spoke with TheWrap and pointed to one of Rubin's previous guests — Mike Cernovich. The outlet described Cernovich as a "right-wing pundit who in 2016 had pushed the Pizzagate conspiracy theory," which suggested that Democrats (including former presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) were operatives in a child sex ring that was based out of a pizza parlor.
"That whole discussion [with Buttigieg's camp] was taking place at the same time that Rubin was promoting his interview with Mike 'Pizzagate' Cernovich, whose brand is self-evidently disgusting," Carusone told the outlet. "I don't think it's a stretch to point out that being juxtaposed with Mike Cernovich is not a good look for a presidential hopeful."
Carusone added, "The media landscape these days is so complex and fluid that it's a challenge for anyone to keep up and the desire to communicate with wide audiences also needs to be balanced with considerations of the quality and characteristics of the platform that'll be elevated by the presence of a serious presidential contender."
Rubin said, "I don't think interviewing somebody is legitimizing their views. Interviewing somebody is hearing their views. Look, part of being an interviewer is you're going to have to sit down with some controversial people."
Rubin, a self-described former leftist, still hopes to host an interview with Buttigieg despite the noise.
"What business of Media Matters is it if Mayor Pete talks to me or not? You're never left enough for these guys," Rubin said. "I'm gay married. So is [Buttigieg]. When would that hour-long conversation between two functioning adults who happen to be gay married [be off-limits]? If there was nothing else to discuss, that would be interesting enough in and of itself."
"If I'm too far outside of the mainstream for him to talk to, then really, who is left?" he asked.
Rubin concluded by pointing out that his interviews have varied from guest to guest.
"Sometimes I end up talking to some somewhat-shady characters," he admitted. "Sometimes maybe one follow-up [question] isn't perfect, or I would've done this a different way. But I'm really just trying to be present in that room and show people you're allowed to take unpopular opinions and stand up to the mob ... there's a reason they're going after me; they need to extract a very heavy price of a former lefty leaving, because they don't want anyone to leave. And I just refuse to bow."
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