First Andrew Breitbart's online publication, Big Journalism, announced he would be "bringing analysis live from Arizona" with ABC. That was last Friday. Then, according to Politico and others, left-leaning Media Matters "sought to clarify Breitbart's role," first receiving an ambiguous response and then learning that Breitbart was only involved in a "digital town hall" event that would be streamed. Executive producer of ABC News Digital, Andrew Morse, attempted to clear the matter up with a full statement posted online.Then, though, in an interview with Mediaite's Tommy Christopher, Breitbart had a discussion with Morse in which he said he understood the pressure from left-leaning groups, but didn't appreciate ABC's reaction in "throwing [its] invitee under the bus." So here's what happened from there.
- Breitbart's Demand The quote Christopher gets from Breitbart, describing the conversation after the fact, is "you have damaged me, you have damaged my brand, and I’m asking you to walk this lie back. I never exaggerated, I never lied, I never played my role up." He wanted ABC to revise the statement within 24 hours, reports Christopher, or he'd publish the emails supporting his version of the story.
- The Emails Published Sunday night, Breitbart published his correspondence on Big Government. The crucial excerpt from the ABC producer's email:
This program will broadcast on the ABC Television Network, abcnews.com, ABC News Now, and ABC News Radio.
The show will be live on the web and ABC News Now as well as on the network from 4:00pm till 11:00pm MST.
- ABC Fires Breitbart That drew the following cold letter from ABC and Andrew Morse, published on the ABC site.
Dear Mr. Breitbart,
'We have spent the past several days trying to make clear to you your limited role as a participant in our digital town hall to be streamed on ABCNews.com and Facebook. The post on your blog last Friday created a widespread impression that you would be analyzing the election on ABC News. We made it as clear as possible as quickly as possible that you had been invited along with numerous others to participate in our digital town hall. Instead of clarifying your role, you posted a blog on Sunday evening in which you continued to claim a bigger role in our coverage. As we are still unable to agree on your role, we feel it best for you not to participate.
- Breitbart Calls It 'Cowardice' The network, he tells Politico, was "caving into what was an overwhelming onslaught by Media Matters, The Huffington Post, TalkingPointsMemo and Daily Kos."'
- But Media Matters Cheers No big surprise there. CEO David Brock is "pleased that ABC finally came to its senses and realized that nothing good can come from associating in any way with Andrew Breitbart."
- Mediaite Sides with Breitbart Tommy Christopher is appalled at Media Matters' careful chronicling of what it calls "ABC's conflicting statements"--which seem to show that Breitbart is in the right--and then, as Christopher describes it, "congratulat[ing] them" on the resolution.