‘You’re A Teenage Girl’: Politico‘s Byers, HuffPost‘s Stein Squabble Over GOP Media Strategy

A Twitter tiff between Politico‘s Dylan Byers and HuffPost‘s Sam Stein started with a blog post that made little sense without spending five minutes to really contemplate it.

Yesterday Byers posted an excerpt from a HuffPost story by Stein, who had interviewed former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman:

“‘In an interview with The Huffington Post, [Jon] Huntsman laid out his vision for the Republican Party going forward….’

“Get it?”

And that was it.

Stein reacted to the post by saying he “always thought it was weird that people think Republicans can’t talk to [HuffPost] and still be conservative.”

With that, Byers’ post starts to make sense. He was suggesting that HuffPost, known as a left-leaning publication, may not be the best platform for a Republican to try influencing the GOP.

“Call a GOP strategist and ask them if [HuffPost] is best place to lay out your vision for GOP,” Byers said to Stein. “Seriously?” Stein replied. “We scored a [Mitt] Romney interview in the primary? We talk to GOP lawmakers all the time, top operatives, officials, etc…”

A former Huntsman communications director says HuffPost is a reasonable place for the GOP to speak out…

James Richardson, former director of online communications for Huntsman, told FishbowlDC there’s good reason for the GOP to speak out through HuffPost.

“The Huffington Post’s reporting, aggregation and commentary bears considerable weight on the partisan landscape,” said Richardson, who is now the V.P of Hynes Communications. “It is, in a very real sense, the assignment editor for the center-left media universe.”
He continued: “No conservative commentator or Republican operative that engages HuffPo does so with the grandiose expectation of converting the masses, rather launching a dialogue or driving the convenient political wedge where possible.”

Picking up where we left off in the conversation, Slate‘s Dave Weigel found an opportune moment to insert himself. “I found this interesting article at ‘Politico.com,'” he said to Byers and Stein, linking to a 2009 story in Politico by Michael Calderone headlined “Republicans flock to The Huffington Post.” Calderone, a former media reporter for Politico, now works at HuffPost. Oh, BURN!

“Guys, that’s by Michael Calderone,” Byers wrote dismissively. He followed up with an update to his initial blog post wherein he included an explanation from an unnamed “GOP source.”

“Working for the Obama administration, whining about neocons to Huffington Post reporters, letting John Weaver run [Huntsman’s] campaign–if [Huntsman] changes his registration he could be a real force in 2016…. but I got the joke.”

Weigel mocked Byers for granting anonymity to his source, to which Byers responded “You’re so predictable.” Weigel retorted, “Are you not tired of being laughed at today?”

Around this time, WaPo‘s Dylan Matthews also chimed in to call Byers “a teenage girl.”

To wrap things up, Byers tweeted sarcastically, “If only Romney had just spent a little more time talking to the Huffington Post…” Rubbing the sore, Stein shot out the last word. “This seems like a decent reason for Republicans to talk to the Huffington Post,” he said. Attached to his tweet was a graphic showing HuffPost with much higher web traffic than Politico.

“I’ll have to let the piece speak for itself,” Byers told FishbowlDC. Stein did not respond to request for comment. An email to Calderone was returned with a notice that he is not checking email until Dec. 3.