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.”
Breitbart railed on Media Matters as well, which apparently had a hand in getting him kicked off election commentary on ABC’s network on Tuesday night after he released this tape. Media Matters, a widely discredited left-wing advocacy group, launched an attack after ABC seemed to announce that Breitbart had been booked to provide on-air election night commentary.
“George Soros, in his plane, a private jet, a global warming jet, flew and dropped money on Alaska on a series of left-wing bloggers and infested it, the Alaska media, with an anti-reformist agenda,” Breitbart said. “The Republican Party up there is corrupt, the media up there is corrupt, the Democratic Party up there is corrupt and George Soros has helped to sully it. This is why Sarah Palin had to step down – because they were trying to assault her using fake journalism in order to assassinate her character because they saw that she was a threat, a huge potential juggernaut.”
Media Matters CEO David Brock called on people across the country to not watch ABC’s election night coverage because he said ABC was “credentializing a proven liar and racist serial right-wing hoaxster. Too many in the media have been taken in, including now ABC. I’d rather watch Fox on Election Night than be subjected to ABC’s Mickey Mouse news standards.”
“The public in Alaska needs to know the truth so they are fully and correctly informed before they cast their ballots Tuesday. Palin has a responsibility to release the full, unedited tapes publicly and to all media,” Brock said in another statement.
Media Matters spokesperson Jess Levin said in an e-mail to TheDC about Brock’s second statement, “This is especially true in light of KTVA’s statement today.”
ABC spokesman David Ford said Breitbart had been scheduled to participate in a town hall meeting in Arizona, broadcast only online, and he took pains to distance the network from the conservative publisher. “Mr. Breitbart is not an ABC News analyst,” Ford said in an e-mail to TheDC, adding that ABC News is not paying Breitbart. “He is not an ABC News consultant. He is not, in any way, affiliated with ABC News.”
Breitbart refuted ABC’s claims that he was only going to participate in an online broadcast, saying that “they originally pitched to me that I was going to do a hybrid of both online and broadcast,” but, since Brock called for the boycott, the story has changed.
“They [the media, in general] want to use this to deny my existence in their world, especially for retribution because of the success of the ACORN story,” Breitbart said. “We will continue to fight you, we will continue to call you out for hackery, we will only get bigger and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Politico’s Ben Smith did not return TheDC’s request for comment.