The Times Gives Andrew Breitbart His Due on Weiner-Gate, Admits Press Holds Him at Arms Length
When Meagan Broussard asked one of her friends what she should do about an intimate online relationship she had been having with Representative Anthony D. Weiner, the friend, a Republican, told her to go to Andrew Breitbart.
Mr. Breitbart, a conservative blogger, has established his Web site, BigGovernment.com, as the place to go with tidbits of a scandal in the making. On Monday, he claimed a moral victory after Mr. Weiner admitted that he had indeed sent the suggestive photos posted earlier on his site. "I'm here for some vindication," Mr. Breitbart said as he took to the lectern at Mr. Weiner's own news conference.
But before vindication, he sought legitimacy from the same mainstream media he regularly assails. For the revelations about the congressman, Mr. Breitbart partnered with ABC News, which interviewed Ms. Broussard and published its own account of her relationship with Mr. Weiner, a Brooklyn Democrat.
Mr. Breitbart, whose credibility was damaged by his release of a selectively edited tape of Shirley Sherrod, an Agriculture Department official, said he felt ABC News could help the Weiner story rise to something more than a scandal flamed by the conservative blogosphere.
"One of the reasons I went to ABC, believe it or not, was to take this out of the partisan rancor realm," he said in a phone interview.
Peters and Preston drew back the curtain a little on the liberal media's contempt for Brietbart's new kind of muckraking conservative journalism:
Mr. Breitbart, who used to help Matt Drudge run The Drudge Report and worked for Arianna Huffington, remains a hero among many conservatives even while many liberals and members of the mainstream news media hold their noses at the mere mention of his name.
Mr. Breitbart's relationship with the traditional news media has been strained by mistrust on both sides - with the conservative blogger repeatedly criticizing the major news organizations for ignoring news of consequence to the political right, and the mainstream media harboring suspicions about Mr. Breitbart's motives and methods.
Recognition still proved hard to come by for Mr. Breitbart on Monday. Fox News was the only cable channel to carry extended footage of his remarks at the Weiner press conference. CNN and MSNBC played the video but talked over Mr. Breitbart.