I haven’t covered the Andrew Breitbart/ABC situation in detail, but I want to catch up with it, because it re-ignites a debate on the progressive left about how to deal with people of this ilk. As you may know, Breitbart was asked by ABC to join their Election Night coverage, and he accepted. The journalists at ABC were totally blindsided by this, and after about a day of outcry, ABC backpedaled, saying Breitbart was never supposed to be part of the Election Night broadcast coverage, merely part of a town hall in Phoenix that would largely be viewed on Facebook and the ABC.com website.
Breitbart, thinking he caught ABC in a lie, then posted emails purportedly showing that ABC lied about his participation in their Election Night coverage. ABC denies that the emails show this. And basically, ABC is at war with one of their invited guests to one of their bigger news events of the year.
On the left, a number of groups have worked to simply get Breitbart off the broadcast, or to get their supporters to watch something other than ABC on Election Night. Brietbart let something slip in his whiny accusation post. He said that he understood that a Daily Kos blogger would be appearing at the event with him, and because (to Breitbart) Daily Kos is as execrable as he is, somehow this balances things out.
Only Markos says that no Kos blogger will be on the ABC broadcast. As Markos says, “nice try, trying to drag us into this, Andrew, but why would we want to share a stage with a pathological liar?” Other progressive bloggers have declined to appear with Breitbart as well, FDL News has learned.
This is part of a larger question in the progressive community over whether to share stages with the likes of Breitbart, or whether to appear on Fox News, or what have you. Some argue that they should not allow the lies of a Brietbart or a Fox to go unchecked, and that progressive voices have to be heard in those venues. Others think that no progressive should de facto legitimize a Breitbart or a Fox News. This was the argument behind the ultimately successful boycott by Democratic candidates of a 2008 Fox News Presidential primary debate.
I think the debate gets a little too intense sometimes, but in this case, with ABC dealing with their own self-inflicted drowning, I would see no reason to hand them a lifeline and a way out of it. Let them have their little Breitbart show, and I will enjoy checking the ratings the day afterwards.
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars’ John Amato also won’t attend the town hall, after being asked.