The Curious Case of Breitbart’s Banishment from HuffPost

Well, that didn’t last long.

WaPo‘s Greg Sargent initially reported Wednesday night that HuffPost would stick by Andrew Breitbart, the conservative publisher of BigJournalism, despite a campaign to have his posts removed from Arianna Huffington’s site. A group called Color of Change had launched a campaign against Breitbart, who they say “poses as a journalist and then uses his position to gin up race-based fears, protect racists, and demonize Black political leaders and institutions.”

But it seemed that HuffPost wasn’t paying the criticism any heed. Spokesman Mario Ruiz rattled off a list of a conservative contributors to HuffPost and emailed Sargent: “The idea being that dialogue — from a wide range of perspectives — is preferable to silence.”

Then the Daily Caller‘s Steven Nelson published an interview with Breitbart, who said Color of Change could “bring it on, punks” and said he’d “expose them like the cockroaches that they are.” He predicted that Arianna Huffington, with whom he helped develop HuffPost in 2005 and who he’s known for almost 15 years, wouldn’t give in to Color of Change: “She knows that I’m not what they are accusing me of.”

Shortly after the interview was published, HuffPost changed its tune, likely due to comments Breitbart made about former Obama administration official Van Jones, who he called a “cop killer-supporting, racist, demagogic freak.” Ruiz again emailed the Post: “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. As a result, we will no longer feature his posts on the front page.”

Of course, this wouldn’t stand. As Dave Weigel noted over at Slate: “Boy, good thing Breitbart doesn’t have an army of contributors who can comb HuffPo authors’ published and spoken work to see if they’ve done that.”

And so sure enough this morning, BigJournalism announced its pledge to “Help AOL/HuffPo Enforce No ‘Ad Hominem Attacks’ Rule.” BJ‘s Alexander Marlow writes: “AOL/HuffPo has thousands of bloggers, many of whom have said and will say things much worse than what Breitbart said, so we here at Big Journalism are hereby pledging to help AOL/HuffPo enforce their ‘no ad hominem attacks by bloggers’ rule. The work will be hard, the hours will be long, but in the name of equality and for the good of the site Andrew Breitbart developed, we will do our best to save AOL/HuffPo from itself.”

Something tells us this isn’t over yet.