As some in the Twittersphere may have noticed yesterday, BigGov’s Andrew Breitbart and Current TV’s David Shuster were locked in a battle of wills over an aspect of former USDA Georgia official Shirley Sherrod‘s lawsuit against Breitbart. At issue is …well, both men vehemently disagree on what the issue is. Shuster says it’s whether a judge smacked Breitbart down for missing a court deadline. Breitbart says it’s Shuster’s claim that Breitbart missed a deadline and that he should fire his lawyers. Some 24 hours later, even after a full night’s sleep, the Twitter battle hasn’t ceased.
Breitbart says Shuster’s random attacks against him come about every six months. “Unless he gets in my face, I don’t know he’s alive,” Breitbart explained, subtly cracking on Shuster’s new post at Current TV. While hosting “The Bill Press Show” this morning, Shuster called Breitbart personally “nice” but in the same breath declared him “crazy.” He also said, “All Andrew Breitbart can do is throw up a cloud of indignation. He wants people to never think he has done anything wrong. It’s sick — it’s a sick pathology.”
But Breitbart says Shuster also suffers from a sickness — lying. “He’s lying, he’s been caught lying,” Breitbart told FBDC in a phone interview. “He’s now taunting me with something that certifiably wrong…now he knows that he can go to his sycophants. If he says Breitbart raped somebody they will say Breitbart raped somebody. He’s diverting attention from his false declarative sentence that my team missed a deadline. I was very specific in what I knew that what he was writing was wrong. Now he’s worried he’s going to have to eat crow and so he is creating subterfuge with confusion. He wasn’t staking a claim on what the judge said 24 hours ago. He’s trying to walk back from his bad reporting. He’s always wrong.”
What exactly is Shuster wrong about? Breitbart says it’s Shuster’s defiant claim that Breitbart missed a court deadline. Shuster: “Hey @AndrewBreitbart, you lost the bet. Apologize. Here’s the judge’s ruling. http://tinyurl.com/89xrlp2 Fire your lawyers for missing deadline.” He also wrote: “Furthermore, @AndrewBreitbart, given the terrible briefs and malfeasance your lawyers have shown thus far, u should fire them.” Shuster, in a phone interview, insists he’s right and that Breitbart is avoiding the truth. “He’s weaseling out,” Shuster told FBDC in a phone interview. “He doesn’t understand a question mark. I understand he wants to make this about everything …the fact of the matter is he’s unwilling to acknowledge that he has done anything wrong. The more ways he can confuse his own followers the better for him. I get it, he’s just not being honest.”
Who started it: Shuster. He charged that Breitbart needs to fire his attorneys in the case with Sherrod after he claimed, according to a court doc, that Breitbart was late in filing documents. Here’s a sampling of the back and forth. Shuster: “Hey @andrewbreitbart you should settle with Sherrod and fire your lawyers. Your team missed a motion to dismiss deadline? Ouch.” Breitbart: “@DavidShuster Speaking of firing lawyers, remember when you broke your MSNBC contract by filming a CNN pilot? Ouch indeed.” …Shuster: “Breitbart’s motion to dismiss, filed April 18, 2011, was filed two weeks after the deadline to file the motion.” You @AndrewBreitbart can talk about ‘liars’ all day long. The fact is the judge ruled against you and said you missed a filing deadline.” Breitbart: “Take the bet then. What are you afraid of? You’re pushing a falsehood & you are now aware of it. Scared of the truth? Cat got your fired-by-every-cable-news-network tongue?”
By the end of yesterday’s nastiness, Breitbart waged a bet and Shuster appeared to accept it. Shuster continuously declared Breitbart wrong and insisted that he concede. Breitbart, meanwhile, requested that FishbowlDC be the arbiter of the bet — as in WE will enforce the outcome. And we’re not going to lie — we love this idea. Whoever loses must agree to the terms of the wager.
Terms of the bet…
If Breitbart loses, he will post a two paragraph note on all seven of his websites in which he officially apologizes to Shuster. He will at some point in the apology include the phrase, “I know, I am a bit of a Big Idiot and a loser.” He will also log on Twitter and issue a sincere-sounding apology. If Shuster loses, he will host a 30-minute Twitter Q & A for aspiring maggots and issue an apology to Breitbart. At some point Shuster will admit, “I am a maggot. I can’t help myself.” The apology will be printed on FishbowlDC as well on the Breitbart sites.
Outcome: Disaster. Unfortunately, in a blur of morning phone conversations with Breitbart and Shuster (separately, of course) we could not get the two men to reach agreement on anything much less the terms of a bet.