This is the story of a liberal TV pundit and a conservative
Internet pundit and their feud over a 25 year-old accused felon
who likes to wear costumes. The first one--prickly MSNBC host David Shuster--has been
going hard after James O'Keefe, recently arrested for breaking into
a New Orleans Senator's office. He's also been pounding O'Keefe's patron, conservative editor Andrew Breitbart. O'Keefe, who in 2009 dressed as a pimp to expose ACORN, dressed as a telephone
repairman this week. The costume was part of a plot to tamper with the
phones in Senator Mary Landrieu's office. O'Keefe and Breitbart have
been the subject of much mockery, but Shuster is taking a harder tack.
On Tuesday, Shuster tweeted to O'Keefe, "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison." (MSNBC reprimanded Shuster for the tweet.) Later,
Shuster had Breitbart himself on MSNBC to discuss the New Orleans
break-in. It devolved quickly into an 8-minute shouting match:
Unsurprisingly, pundits were quick to declare total victory for their respective partisan in the fight. Politico's Ben Smith declared, "This is cable at its best." (Some, less inclined to watch screaming gasbags for fun, disagreed.)
Andrew Breitbart, concerned that the incident may not have been a "win"
for him, rushed to mount an online offensive. In a lengthy post, "How
David Shuster Lied to Get Me to Appear on MSNBC," Breitbart published
the four-sentence email in which Shuster had invited Breitbart on
MSNBC. Writing on his Blackberry, Shuster apparently told Breitbart, "I
don't have a horse in this race." Breitbart counters that Shuster did
too have a horse in the race. "As you see, Shuster is attempting to
lure me into this story based upon the false premise of his objective
Meanwhile, O'Keefe posted a defense--to Breitbart's site, naturally--going after MSNBC as well as other perpetrators of "journalistic malpractice." More on this very important story as it develops, which hopefully it won't.
The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now. Our team tracks newsmakers and opinions across the entire media spectrum: newspapers, web sites, television, radio and magazines.
But we do more than just collect information. By synthesizing, analyzing and summarizing what’s out there, and adding new information when we can, we are a news engine that gives you a quick and valuable account of the issues of the day.