It was always an eyebrow-raising relationship: Arianna Huffington, the Republican turned ultraliberal, palling around with Andrew Breitbart, the Matt Drudge acolyte who grew into his own rabble-rouser of the right. Huffington brought on Breitbart to help develop her fledgling website, the Huffington Post, back in 2005. Drudge had introduced the two, back when Arianna was on his political team, and even after Breitbart left to focus on his new sites, BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, his writing continued to appear in blog form on the Huffington Post. As his profile rose and his positions became more antagonistic to the left, Arianna stood by Breitbart and continued to publish his writing on her home page. Until yesterday: After the Daily Caller published an interview in which Breitbart called former White House adviser Van Jones a “commie punk,” a “cop killer-supporting, racist, demagogic freak,” a “cockroach,” and a “human toxin,” Huffington agreed to take his works off the HuffPo homepage. (A group Jones founded, Color for Change, had criticized the website for continuing to publish Breitbart’s writing, calling him a “race-baiter” and criticizing his style of journalism.)
As Dave Weigel points out, these insults are hardly unheard-of from a HuffPo blogger in a forum outside of the aggregating site. And they’re not even that harsh when parsed. But Alex Pareene suspects that Arianna’s friendship with Jones, which is tighter than the one she shares with Breitbart, was enough to do the trick.
“Andrew Brietbart’s false ad hominem attack on Van Jones in The Daily Caller violates the tenets of debate and civil discourse we have strived for since the day we launched,” said hardworking HuffPo spokesman Mario Ruiz. “As a result, we will no longer feature his posts on the front page.” His work will still appear on the site, only less prominently.
If, because of his friendship with Arianna (or whatever’s left of it), Breitbart drops the issue here, it’ll be surprising. Breitbart thrives on having enemies and having proof that his enemies have control over the media. Color of Change should know that in this small victory, they’ve only given Breitbart more ammunition.