In the continuing back-and-forth over what exactly right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart will be contributing to ABC News’s election night coverage, Breitbart now says he was told he’d be part of the news organization’s broadcast coverage.
In emails Breitbart posted to his web site last night, an unnamed producer from ABC News explains that ABC is looking for “political figures and newsmakers to appear in our Town Hall style panel” in Phoenix, Ariz. The email notes that the town hall, which will take place at Arizona State University, “will broadcast on the ABC Television Network, abcnews.com, ABC News Now, and ABC News Radio.”
ABC has shot back.“Any confusion about Breitbart’s role is of his own making,” spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told Greg Sargent. “A simple reading of the email he posted makes it quite clear that he had only ever been invited to be a guest on our online town hall.”
Breitbart’s Big Journalism announced, and ABC confirmed, on Friday that he and Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch would be part of ABC’s election night coverage. Big Journalism wrote that Breitbart “will be bringing analysis live from Arizona.”
After a flurry of pushback, mostly from bloggers and others who cited Breitbart’s role in the Shirley Sherrod debacle and his involvement with James O’Keefe’s video activism, ABC News tried to distance itself from Breitbart.
An executive producer from ABC wrote that “Mr. Breitbart is not an ABC News analyst. He is not an ABC News consultant. He is not, in any way, affiliated with ABC News. He is not being paid by ABC News. He has not been asked to analyze the results of the election for ABC News. Mr. Breitbart will not be a part of the ABC News broadcast coverage.”
ABC’s Schnieder now says that was “plan from the start.”
The producer, Andrew Morse, wrote that only the hosts of the Phoenix event, David Muir and Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg, would be part of the broadcast coverage.
It appears that Breitbart is still scheduled to be part of ABC’s event, although ABC hasn’t said so explicitly. As he wrote last night:
Perhaps on election eve, as I prepare to head to Phoenix to participate — one way or another — in ABC News’s coverage, it’s no surprise that we are ending this news cycle with a clash on this bitterly contested front.