ABC News to Smear Merchant Brietbart: Get Lost
November 2, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—Why ABC News decided to invite discredited smear merchant and propagandist Andrew Brietbart to offer election night commentary, even in the limited role of a digital town hall, is anyone’s guess. But the misguided decision has backfired big time, as the unhinged Brietbart initiated a messy war of words with ABC over his role and whether he would appear on air. ABC said he was not invited to offer on air analysis, but Brietbart believed otherwise and he publicly called ABC a bunch of liars. Now, ABC has finally come to its senses and has disinvited Brietbart from its election night coverage. Good call. As the saying goes, “If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.” ABC News executives not only got flea bitten, but were nipped in their behinds as well. And in the process, ABC News’ credibility took a tumble.
Brietbart, responsible for perpetrating a fraud on the public by disseminating heavily edited ACORN videos and the deceptively edited Shirley Sherrod video, for some inexplicable reason, was viewed as a credible conservative voice by ABC News executives. That decision reflects very poorly on ABC as a news organization.
But today, the network decided to cut its losses and dropped Brietbart in a tersely worded letter, referencing the public dispute over Brietbart’s role in its election coverage.
“We have spent the past several days trying to make clear to you your limited role as a participant in our digital town hall to be streamed on ABCNews.com and Facebook. The post on your blog last Friday created a widespread impression that you would be analyzing the election on ABC News. We made it as clear as possible as quickly as possible that you had been invited along with numerous others to participate in our digital town hall. Instead of clarifying your role, you posted a blog on Sunday evening in which you continued to claim a bigger role in our coverage. As we are still unable to agree on your role, we feel it best for you not to participate.”
Predictably, the often-unhinged Brietbart became enraged over being dropped from ABC’s election coverage, calling ABC cowards for caving into pressure from the left wing.
“This is about cowardice and caving into what was an overwhelming onslaught by Media Matters, The Huffington Post, TalkingPointsMemo and Daily Kos,” Breitbart told POLITICO. “This is their bowing to left-wing pressure. … They know they can do it at any time and any place and ABC will bow to pressure.”
Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog group has been at the forefront of the ABC News, Brietbart drama, rightly questioning ABC News’ decision to invite a discredited smear merchant to offer election night analysis, online or not.
Media Matters CEO David Brock praised ABC for finally doing the right thing, calling Brietbart “poison and a “hoaxter.”
“I still don’t understand why they ever thought it would be a good idea to host a racist right-wing hoaxster like him, but cooler heads have prevailed. The man is poison,” he added. “Hopefully their experience with Breitbart’s reputation and erratic behavior will serve as a warning to other outlets before they too gamble with their credibility.”
Photo Source: Wikipedia/ Shal Farley/derivative work: Cousin Kevin/Andrew Breitbart seaking in Pasadena, California/Creative Commons Attribution.