ABC News and Breitbart are now at war

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

It's not like we don't try to warn people.

It's not like Media Matters hasn't meticulously detailed the way Andrew Breitbart routinely wrestles with the truth and loses. We've made it plain to anyone who's interested that Breitbart is a propagandist, plain and simple. Worse, he's a propagandist who invents smears and malicious attacks against innocent targets. (Paging Shirley Sherrod.) And he does it all in the name of partisan gain, as well as his own self-aggrandizement.

In other words, he's not a political player who should be taken seriously by professional journalists. And he's certainly not somebody who the press should, in any way, attempt to legitimize or mainstream simply because his track record of deceit has been so prominently marked and footnoted.

And yet for some reason ABC News thought it would be a good idea to reach out to Breitbart and include him in its Election Night coverage. (Was James O'Keefe not available?) It was a preposterous move and one that has led to a multitude of black-eyes, like when Sherrod attorney's likened Breitbart's ABC invitation to "rewarding a Klansman -- giving a Klansman an award for burning a cross on Shirley Sherrod's house." The chronic disgust that greeted ABC's staffing decision forced the network to try to publicly distance itself from Breitbart, stressing that he was only going to contributed to ABC's online coverage.

But now, in an utterly predictable twist, the brawling has become internal, as it were, with Breitbart battling ABC reps over what exactly his role will be and what he claims it was supposed to be. (He's published private emails to state his case.)

That's right, ABC is now publicly feuding with one of its soon-to-be guests, with Breitbart claiming ABC execs lied about what their plans were for him on Election Night, and ABC responding that it's Breitbart who's confused about what the emails said and what his participation was supposed to be. So yes, the obvious question arises: If ABC doesn't think Breitbart can read emails, why do they want him to comment on Tuesday night's election results?

It's a wild, ugly spectacle for ABC News. And like I said, it's not like we didn't try to warn them: When you lay down with Breitbart, you're gonna get fleas.

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