Guess who ABC has recruited to cover election returns next Tuesday? Andrew Breitbart and his new editor, St. Louis’ own Tea Party favorite, Dana Loesch. Bear in mind that ABC, in distinction to Fox News, still has some lingering claim to being a news organization – although that may not be the case much longer given the network’s response when questioned about their choice of commentators:
Asked about Breitbart’s history of unethical behavior and misinformation, ABC News’ David Ford told Media Matters: “He will be one of many voices on our air, including Bill Adair of Politifact. If Andrew Breitbart says something that is incorrect, we have other voices to call him on it.
To which Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly quite correctly calls foul:
ABC’s explanation for this is woefully unpersuasive — if the right-wing hatchet-man starts lying on the air, “we have other voices to call him on it”? Here’s a crazy thought: if ABC News has reason to believe Breitbart might try to deceive the network’s audience, then maybe he shouldn’t be part of the election-night broadcast.
For that matter, this isn’t exactly a recipe for quality journalism — Breitbart will spew propaganda; others on the broadcast will be there to “call him on it.” Viewers will, in other words, hear some falsehoods and some corrections, but won’t necessarily know who’s right.
In case you haven’t had a chance to develop an appreciation for Mr. Breitbart and Ms. Loesch’s journalistic depravity, Mediamatters offers some links to a few of the highlights of Breitbart’s career; specifically check out the link titled “Wild accusations over Gladney case.” Not only does this link detail a St. Louis event, but Dana Loesch was intimately involved in helping to manufacture a fringewing cause celebre out of poor, inept Mr. Gladney and in pushing it as hard as she could, no matter how she had to fib. It should give you an idea about why it’s is so disturbing that ABC would let either of these night crawlers out into the light.
Some amusing comments on Benen’s post about Breitbart and Loesch on ABC: “… it’s like asking Jeffrey Dahmer to work in a restaurant kitchen“; “What, David Duke was unavailable? “; “… Micheal Vick will be doing commentary for the Kensington Dog Show“; and “That is why comedians deliver news these days while news organizations now do really bad comedy.” Not so amusing, to paraphrase another comment on Benen’s post, is the fact that if the Tea Party does well on Tuesday night, we can expect to see more of this opportunistic pandering to the fringewing crazies in the future.
If you think that these two ethically challenged, hyper-partisan hacks have no place outside of Fox news, let ABC know that you will be watching election coverage elsewhere next Tuesday (and in the future, if this pattern persists). And be clear that you are not objecting to conservative commentary, but to dishonest and unethical pseudo-journalists being legitimized by what has been, until this event at least, a more or less respectable news outlet. You can offer ABC News feedback here.
Update: Steve Benen reports that ABC is feeling the heat; issues clarification of Breitbart’s role – he’ll be part of an online panel only. What about Loesch, online only as well?