The fighters: Avid tweeter Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed versus Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist.
On Kaczynski’s resumé: He got on people’s radar in 2011 for posting old video clips of politicians. He attended Ohio University and St. John’s University but didn’t graduate from either school. He interned for the RNC. He landed on TIME‘s best 140 Twitter feeds in 2013. In 2014, New York Magazine hailed him the 13th most influential tweeter in Manhattan. BuzzFeed hired him in late 2011. On a productive note, in 2013, he unearthed that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had plagiarized parts of a speech of a Wikipedia article on Stand and Deliver. Not so productive: After the Boston Bombings in 2013, Kaczynski helped spread false info on the identities of the suspected bombers by retweeting inaccurate info from a Reddit user (source: his Wikipedia profile).
On Davis’s resumé: He previously worked as chief investigator for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), an economic policy advisor to Gov. Rick Perry (Texas) and as CFO of The Daily Caller. He has a degree in finance from Texas Tech University and a MBA in finance from the Wharton School. On a productive note, The Hill named him one of the top congressional staffers under the age of 35 for his role in spearheading the enactment of the law that created USASpending.gov.
What’s eating these two? In contention is whether Davis condemns the effigy of President Obama hanging from a bridge.
How it all began: The trouble began Monday afternoon when Kaczynksi tweeted a promo to his story that a President Obama effigy had shut down a busy highway on Interstate 70 in Grain Valley, Mo. Davis reacted by tweeting a photograph of some hatred once directed at President Bush.
This was enough to make Kaczynski think that Davis supported the Obama effigy. “Logic from @seanmdav, hanging obama effigy is okay because something similar happened to Bush,” he wrote.
Which set the whole Twitter barn on fire.
DAVIS: “@BuzzFeedAndrew Where did I say it was ‘okay’? Why do you feel the need to lie to make your stupid little points?”
KACZYNSKI: “@seanmdav your first instinct is quite revealing.”
DAVIS: “@BuzzFeedAndrew Your inability to remember history before 2009 (and your willingness to lie and fabricate quotes) are revealing.”
KACZYNSKI: “@seanmdav lol, okay.”
KACZYNSKI: “@seanmdav your inability to do a simple click on my page to find something from before 2009 is quite revealing.”
DAVIS: “@BuzzFeedAndrew Where did I say an effigy was ‘okay’? You made a claim. Back it up or retract it.”
KACZYNSKI: “@seanmdav do you condemn the effigy?”
DAVIS: “@BuzzFeedAndrew Of course I do, you uneducated halfwit. Do you apologize for lying and fabricating quotes? … Did they teach you how quote attribution works at St. John’s, or did you also drop out of that class before it was finished?”
KACZYNSKI: “@seanmdav Thanks for clarifying even to an uneducated halfwit like me. … I can send you a copy of my transcripts if you like.”
DAVIS: “@BuzzFeedAndrew That’d be great! Apologize for fabricating a quote and lying first, and then feel free to send them my way.”
The Peanut Gallery: Overwhelmingly leaning for Davis.
GUY BENSON (Townhall political editor, Fox News contributor): “I think his [Davis’s] point was that this type of virulent nastiness isn’t ‘unprecedented,'” as we’re often told.”
GREG POLLOWITZ (NationalReviewOnline contributor): “An effigy on your private property of anybody is OK I’d argue. An effigy of anybody hanging over a highway isn’t.”
CHARLES C. COOKE (National Review): “I’m actually pro-effigy. I think all presidents should be hung in effigy at least a few times.”
STEPHEN GUTOWKSI (blogger): “Where does he say it was ok, Andrew? I’m not seeing that.”
The outcome: I feel confident in saying that these two men will die hating each other. But just to be sure, I asked each of them if they’d ever consider having a drink or breaking bread. In Kaczynksi’s case, lemonade since he doesn’t drink the hard stuff.
Davis told The Mirror, “I’d absolutely have a drink or a meal with Kaczynski. Life’s too short for grudges. I’d have to insist on ordering my own food and drink, though. Given Kaczynski’s track record of deliberately mischaracterizing other people’s words, I’d hate to ask for a hamburger and a Coke and end up with tofu and a wheatgrass milkshake.”
Kaczynski, so far, has not replied to my query.
Winner and loser: Kaczynski’s the general loser here. He assumed, with little evidence, that Davis was automatically pro-effigy because it was Obama and he writes for a conservative publication. But really, Kaczynski had little to go on other than Davis’ tweet, which pointed out that this had happened to a previous POTUS. The vitriol here stems from assumptions of left and right wing media outlets. Kaczynksi needs to slow down, perhaps play with his pussy (cat) before he starts declaring that a journalist of any stripe supports a hanging effigy of a president. On the other hand, in the future, Davis might want to make it infinitely clear that he doesn’t support this happening to any president, while making the argument that this has happened before.