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One Year After Debunking Breitbart's "Slander," CNN Welcomes Him Back As Newsmaker

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-- from County Fair

Proving once again that there's no standard by which many mainstream media outlets are willing to hold sloppy propagandist Andrew Breitbart, CNN this afternoon invited the discredited blogger on the air to discuss the Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY- D) Twitter story.

Conveniently setting aside the fact that virtually every attack campaign that Breitbart has launched in recent years has collapsed under the weight of modest scrutiny, CNN presented the fatuous blogger as some sort of expert who could walk people through the Weiner story, which he's been hyping for days. (The whole right-wing blogosphere launched itself into a creepy tizzy over the holiday weekend regarding the story.)

The invite was odd because last summer CNN's Anderson Cooper helped debunk Breitbart's shoddy Shirley Sherrod attack and announced the clips of Sherrod that Breitbart posted online "were clearly edited to deceive and slander Miss Sherrod." Cooper added that Breitbart's behavior was "a classic example of what is wrong with our national discourse."

And on CNN today, the anchor had to ask Breitbart why, in the wake of last year's Sherrod fiasco, anyone would take his claims seriously.

I'd suggest CNN producers should have asked themselves the same question before booking Breitbart today, and before they allowed him to go on the air and repeat crude speculation that the Democratic Congressman was having some "relationships" with "young women" and "girls that are quite young."

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Note that the usual Breitbart rhetorical recklessness was too much for CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who appeared right after Breitbart. Dismayed by Breitbart's "outrageous" insinuations about Weiner and "young girls," Toobin said it was "too bad that he got to say that stuff on CNN."

Agreed.

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Eric Boehlert is the author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush (Free Press, 2006). He worked for five years as a senior writer for Salon.com, where he wrote extensively about media and politics. Prior to that, he worked as a (more...)
 

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