CNN, CBS Zero In on Breitbart's Role in Spreading Word of Weiner Scandal

Both CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday's AC360 and CBS's Nancy Cordes on Thursday's Early Show highlighted conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart's early part in spreading news of the lewd photo Tweeted from Rep. Andrew Weiner's Twitter account. Cooper played up Breitbart's supposedly "questionable credibility," while Cordes reported how "supporters of Weiner note that it was [the] right-wing blogger...who broke the story."

The CNN anchor raised Breitbart's involvement 15 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour as he introduced the second part of an interview of the New York Democrat conducted by his colleague Wolf Blitzer:

COOPER: We're talking about a tech-savvy Democratic congressman, Anthony Weiner, and the photograph that was posted on his Twitter account- but also, about one his conservative Twitter followers, who re-Tweeted the photograph after Tweeting weeks before, hinting at an upcoming sex scandal involving the congressman, and the blogger with questionable credibility, Andrew Breitbart, who has taken the story and run with it. At the end of the day, however, fair or not, many of the questions and most of the talk- they're being fueled by Congressman Weiner himself and how he's been handling this.

Over nine hours later, just after the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, the CBS congressional correspondent actually aired a clip from the right-of-center blogger himself as she noted the accusations of the pro-Weiner camp:

Nancy Cordes, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCORDES (voice-over): Supporters of Weiner note that it was right-wing blogger, Andrew Breitbart, who broke the story. But Breitbart tells CBS News he had nothing to do with the supposed hack.

ANDREW BREITBART, BIGGOVERNMENT.COM: It's certainly not true that I'm behind this. I was at my kitchen island on Friday night when I was notified

Speaking of the liberal politician's supporters' attention on Breitbart, Salon.com's Joan Walsh not only tore into the blogger on Wednesday's Hardball, but also launched accusations against unnamed online conservatives. Host Chris Matthews himself criticized the Democrat's handling of the scandal:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Joan, every time he's asked a question, he changed to Boehner or something else or something else or something else. He never simply said this is ridiculous. I had nothing to do with it. Simply, I had nothing to do with it. This has nothing to do with me. Drop it. Why doesn't he just do that?

JOAN WALSH, SALON: You know, I don't know, Chris. I- you know, I'm a good Irish Catholic girl. I'm not going to sit here and talk about what pictures he may or may not have of himself on his computer. It's none of my business. But, you know, he said that he didn't send the pictures out, and, you know, my position from the beginning has been, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt because this originated with Andrew Breitbart, who, you know, released the selective-

CHRIS MATTHEWS: No- go ahead.

WALSH: The deceptive- deceptively-edited ACORN tapes that, you know, people tried to use-

MATTHEWS: Well, it wasn't that- no, it wasn't deceptive. That's what everybody's saying about it. I saw the first version of it and it told pretty much the whole story of how that woman had gone through an epiphany of understanding how race works (unintelligible)-

WALSH: No, no, no- now you're talking about Shirley Sherrod, you and I disagree about this, Chris. We had that out last year....Shirley Sherrod was smeared. She was depicted as a racist when she was not a racist, and that was the point of her story. So twice, this person has put these-

MATTHEWS: Okay- all right, fine. But we're changing the subject again here to- what is going on with this guy?

Joan Walsh, Salon.com Editor-in-Chief | NewsBusters.orgWALSH: I am changing- you know what? There's- I'm giving out context, and I'm giving you why a lot of people were inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now, the benefit of the doubt that something odd may have gone on is sort of dwindling as he continues to say, I'm not going to answer questions, then answer questions, then he can't really answer with certitude.

I agree that this starting to look weird, but the larger issue of how this came into the public- into the mainstream, I think that context matters and also think that a 21-year-old girl has been smeared here-

MATTHEWS: Right-

WALSH: We have no evidence of wrongdoing on her part. She may have received some naughty photos that she didn't even want, and conservative bloggers smeared her- not just her name, multiple photos, where she goes school-

MATTHEWS: Right-

WALSH: The paper she writes for, so the- something really stinks about this whole thing. I'm not going to exonerate Representative Weiner because I have no idea. I just think that this is kind of a disgusting place to be in politics right now.

MATTHEWS: Okay. Well, it's strange. I think that politicians are the ones responsible for their own story, and there's something strange about a guy who spends the whole afternoon doing unilateral interview after interview after interview with one reporter after another, giving different stories, finally to the point of saying something like, I don't know if it's my picture, and I think that's a strange thing to say. I'm sorry. We're on different planets on this one. I think the whole thing is strange- why he doesn't just say I had nothing to do with this- blame it on Breitbart or anybody else- but just say, this isn't about me. I had nothing to do with it at all.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center