In an email to The Daily Caller on Monday morning, Huffington Post editor Roy Sekoff alleged that conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart is not telling the truth about discussions they had regarding HuffPo’s removal of his blog from its front page.
HuffPo removed Breitbart’s blog from its homepage because of an ad hominem attack he made in TheDC against President Barack Obama’s former green jobs czar Van Jones. TheDC reported that Sekoff told Breitbart he was attempting to convince the left-wing site’s founder, Arianna Huffington, to include language saying Breitbart was not a racist in a statement announcing he had been dropped.
“[I]t’s simply not true, as claimed in the story, that I told Andrew that there was a statement prepared stating that we didn’t think Andrew was a racist but that Arianna decided not to use it,” Sekoff said in the e-mail to TheDC. “There was never any such statement. And there was never an internal argument over making or not making such a statement; the only argument I mentioned to Andrew was between those who wanted to completely ban him from the site, and Arianna and I, who felt that was not the right way to handle it.”
Breitbart admits that he’s not sure whether a statement containing such language had been prepared, but maintains that Sekoff told him he was arguing over it with Huffington. “I honestly don’t know if he had it crafted or had written it, he was just arguing that he wanted to put in the language,” Breitbart said in a phone interview on Monday morning. “I don’t know if he actually had crafted it, he just said he wanted to have it crafted in there for her.”
Sekoff challenged TheDC’s reporting that Breitbart had made numerous attempts to reach him and Huffington before they called him back.
“It’s also inaccurate to make it seem as if Andrew was trying repeatedly to reach us, then finally got me on the line,” Sekoff said. “I reached out to Andrew to discuss the situation, then connected him with Arianna, who was in London. Arianna and Andrew had a brief conversation — all of which occurred before the final decision was made about future front page placement, not after.”
Breitbart said he’d like to offer up his phone records and suggested Sekoff and Huffington do so, too. In addition, he said, because he and Arianna have a “flair for self-promotion,” he recommended that he, Sekoff, Huffington and liberal blogger Lee Stranahan, who defended Breitbart’s character, take lie-detector tests in the public arena.
“She called me 24 hours after I called her multiple times,” Breitbart said. “I called her on her cell phone, I called her at her L.A. office, and, finally, finally, after The Daily Caller piece came out, she called me, allegedly from the tarmac, and was defending Van Jones, and I said everything I said about him is provably true.”
After Breitbart told Huffington everything he said about Jones was “provably true,” Breitbart told TheDC she pulled a fast one on him. “Arianna said, ‘I’m on a plane and they’re taking my cell phone away’ – the oldest trick in the book,” he said.
Breitbart, though, is relieved that Sekoff and Huffington have said publicly that they don’t think Breitbart is a racist. “I want to make it as clear as possible that neither I nor Arianna believe that Andrew Breitbart is a racist,” Sekoff said in his email to TheDC. “If we did believe that, we never would have allowed him to blog on HuffPost — let alone featured him on our front page. The decision about not featuring him on the front page in the future had nothing to do with race, but was based on the nature of his attack on Van Jones, as we’ve always made clear.”
But, Breitbart wants Sekoff and Huffington to go the extra mile and tell their audience on their own website that he’s not a racist. “They don’t want to tell their audience because Color of Change can’t handle it and because the Alinsky-ite, everyone-that-disagrees-with-us-is-a-racist silencing strategy is too central to Arianna’s new friend’s strategy for political victory,” Breitbart said.
He said AOL should worry about Huffington – the dial-up Internet Service Provider recently purchased HuffPo from her for $315 million and put her in charge of all AOL content. “Arianna has created an imbecilic and arbitrary policy for AOL content that would render 99.9 percent of its bloggers inoperative on the front page,” Breitbart said. “I am the only one that AOL is banning for speaking accurately about a person who created an organization whose sole purpose is to silence his critics. I ask AOL’s top management to explain this rule to its readership – and who will be overseeing and rendering this policy?”
More importantly, Breitbart contends, is that Huffington has allowed this campaign to continue for five months and hasn’t done anything to stop it. “I’ve bitten my lip with Arianna for 15 years and indulged her eccentricities and inconsistencies and I got pissed off after the election that she wouldn’t state then what she has stated now,” he told TheDC. “Five months of this wicked campaign and she hurt my family deeply.”
The Huffington Post’s spokesman, Mario Ruiz, has not responded to TheDC’s requests for further comment.