Update: MONDAY 11:35 a.m.
Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent retaliated against Big Government publisher Andrew Breitbart’s responses to ABC News in a blog post Monday, saying his response “is worth noting, because it shows how insane it is for any serious news organization to play footsie with this guy.”
“He’s a relentless self-promoter who’s clearly seizing on this standoff to turn himself into some kind of First Amendment martyr, even if it means dumping all over the organization that originally extended him the invite to participate,” Sargent wrote in response to Breitbart’s comments that he would be on air in addition to online for ABC News on election night.
Breitbart responded to Sargent’s latest comments in a phone interview with The Daily Caller: “Self-promoter? I didn’t start this thing.”
“I was going to show up in Phoenix and be on the fucking town hall thing before they went and got a fact-checker,” Breitbart said. “JournoList happened this year and Greg Sargent wants to be a part of George Soros’s twisted world. This self-hatred shows no bounds.”
Sargent told TheDC: “Mr. Breitbart’s post speaks for itself.”
Breitbart had responded to attacks from Sargent and Politico’s Ben Smith on Sunday about the audio tapes he released showing CBS employees in Alaska conspiring to damage GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller’s reputation. In a voicemail accidentally left on a Miller campaign staffer’s phone, two reporters from CBS’s Alaska affiliate, KTVA, are heard discussing plans to seek out potential child molesters at a Miller campaign event in an apparent attempt to hurt Miller’s candidacy.
“There’s nothing better than being lectured by liars on what proper journalism is,” Breitbart told TheDC. “Greg Sargent never called me. Is that the standard for proper journalism? How many sources does he have to make this allegation?”
Miller campaign spokesperson Randy DeSoto said that what Breitbart published is everything the campaign released.
“Everything that was recorded on my phone is what we released without change,” DeSoto said in a statement that first appeared on Big Government.
Breitbart said Sargent should have called him, but instead, “He wanted to insert, on behalf of Media Matters and a George Soros-funded institutional left, wanted to muddy the waters by making it about Breitbart – Breitbart edited tapes, Breitbart edited tapes.”
“Of course it’s JournoList – it’s Greg Sargent,” Breitbart said in a phone interview. “Then you see Ben Smith say ‘a snippet,’ acting as if the audio, the information, isn’t telling enough. Then, you see Media Matters – the same players – the same ones that get invited to the White House, the same ones that get on special conference calls, the same ones that get the shout-outs at the press conferences, who get their presidential 15 minutes of fame, the same bloggers who have access to key people within the administration. They’re all working in cahoots with each other, it’s predictable. Every single damaging bit of revelation.”
In a blog post on Sunday, Sargent questioned Breitbart’s integrity, bringing up the Shirley Sherrod incident, and used language like “snippet,” and claiming that it’s “unclear from the recording precisely what, if anything, was being plotted.”
“The full audio is only on the cell phone of Miller’s campaign manager. Will the campaign release it? Also: Who edited the audio that Big Journalism posted?” Sargent wrote.
In an update to his story, Sargent added, “It’s possible that the audio Big Journalism posted is all that was recorded on the cell phone. But even if this were the case, running with this audio alone, if that was all that existed, seems pretty questionable.”
Breitbart responded: “If your campaign heard that the local media was conspiring against your campaign to hurt you, and was going to use social media to disseminate that false information, it’s news.”
Sargent’s piece includes a response from Jerry Bever, the general manager of KTVA, the station accused of plotting against Miller – in which he said they’ve learned a lesson. “If they learned their lesson,” Breitbart asked, “why are they directing it at me? Because they realized they got their hands caught in the cookie jar?”
Breitbart defended Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s description of the KTVA reporters as “corrupt bastards.”
“Palin pounces on it because it resonated with her experience with these people,” Breitbart said. “It’s a coordinated attempt to use journalists with names attributable to the Washington Post – we’ve been down this road together with Dave Weigel. Washington Post lends credibility to Soros’s predictable, traceable propaganda.”