Breitbart banned from front page of Huffington Post for ‘ad hominem’ attacks despite HuffPo history of printing ad hominem attacks

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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The Huffington Post announced Thursday that articles written by conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart have been banned from the site’s front page. The decision comes one day after activist group Color of Change launched a campaign with that goal.

Breitbart was banned, according to Huffington Post spokesman Mario Ruiz, for making ad hominem attacks directed at Color of Change co-founder Van Jones in an interview published earlier on Thursday by The Daily Caller.

Breitbart called Jones, who resigned from his position in the Obama administration following a series of revelations, including that he had once signed a 9-11 “truther” petition, “a cop killer-supporting, racist, demagogic freak. And a commie. And an eco-fraudster.”

“Andrew Brietbart’s [sic] ad hominem attack on Van Jones in The Daily Caller violates the tenets of debate and civil discourse we have strived for since the day we launched. As a result, we will no longer feature his posts on the front page,” Ruiz wrote in a statement announcing the decision.

According to Ruiz, Breitbart will continue to be allowed to author content for the site, “provided it adheres to our editorial guidelines, as the two posts he published on HuffPost did.” The guidelines “include a strict prohibition on ad hominem attacks.”

The decision has yielded criticism from several online bloggers. “I’m disappointed and annoyed to see The Huffington Post buckling under a pressure campaign,” wrote David Weigel of Slate. “A strict prohibition on ad hominem attacks! (‘Against Arianna’s friends,’ is the big of that sentence that spokesman Marco Ruiz left out),” wrote Alex Pareene of Salon.

Breitbart is far from the first prominently featured contributor to The Huffington Post that has made ad hominem attacks (though unlike others who had their ad hominem attacks published in posts on The Huffington Post, Breitbart’s comments were not made in posts on the site).

The Huffington Post published an article by actor John Cusack in November 2005 that called Republicans “a league of bastards” and said that Iraq war supporters “are human scum.”

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote an article appearing on The Huffington Post a day after the death of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist in September 2005. Dershowitz wrote that Rehnquist “started out his political career as a Republican thug” and that “Rehnquist’s judicial philosophy was result-oriented, activist, and authoritarian.”

Rehnquist was a “friend of corporations, polluters, right wing Republicans, religious fundamentalists, homophobes, and other bigots,” Dershowitz wrote.

“Cheney is a terrorist. He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately,” wrote actor Alec Baldwin in February 2006.

Baldwin wrote in a subsequent post, “I want to apologize to all of the readers of this blog for referring to Vice President Cheney as a terrorist… How about something more measured, then? How about… a lying, thieving Oil Whore. Or, a murderer of the US Constitution?”

In March 2007, Charles Karel Bouley wrote on The Huffington Post that former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow deserved the cancer that later took his life. Bouley wrote, “Work for Fox News, spinning the truth in to a billion knots and how can your gut not rot? I know, it’s terrible.” The article was edited to remove the references to Snow following public outrage.

Comedian Bill Maher wrote in August 2006 that then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be “tried, convicted, and deported.”

In September 2010, Maher wrote that Ben Stein should not complain about taxes, and that he should be “thanking God and/or Ronald Reagan that [he was] lucky enough to be born in a country where a useless schmuck who contributes absolutely nothing to society can somehow manage to find himself in the top marginal tax bracket.”

A February 2011 article by Diana Butler Bass stated that “[Wisconsin Republican Gov.] Scott Walker’s religion is actually dangerous in the public square. Because it lacks the ability to compromise, it is profoundly anti-democratic.”