HuffPost stands by decision to let conservative Breitbart blog on site

Conservative flame-thrower – in addition to guy with questionable scruples – Andrew Breitbart is now blogging at the Huffington Post. It’s caused a bit of consternation on the left, but Greg Sargent reports tonight that Huffington Post is standing by their (con) man.

HuffPo will stick by Breitbart. In fairness to HuffPo, Arianna Huffington has long insisted that the mission of the site has been to move beyond old ideological catetories of right and left, and the site does post commentary from prominent right wingers like Luntz and Gingrich, with little to no criticism from the left. It’s also true that Breitbart had a relationship with HuffPo early in the site’s development, and prominently banning him could prove awkward.

But for many liberals, Breitbart has been revealed by the Shirley Sherrod affair and other dust-ups to be a particularly toxic and dishonest figure that has no journalistic standards whatsoever. It’s hard to see what he adds in value, beyond ginning up a lot of comments and traffic and noise, and the decision could alienate longtime HuffPo devotees who already are inclined to feel disoriented by the site’s expanding mission.

I know a lot of the folks at Huff Post and like them. Their political writers are top notch, and HuffPo has always been great about throwing some link-love to other sites on the left, including our own, and that’s always been much appreciated. (And don’t discount the important of linking. Some “progressive” sites rarely link to others on the left. And it’s hard to claim you’re a progressive if you aren’t willing to help fellow progressives. And Huff Post does help.)

Thus, I was hesitant to weigh in on this controversy. While the Breitbart issue troubles me, Huff Post has a long history of doing good things for the left, and that shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

As for Breitbart, I get what Greg is saying, both the good and the bad. But I just can’t help thinking that the timing of Breitbart’s addition to the site, so soon after the merger with AOL was announced, might understandably cause some to worry that AOL is changing a good thing. Hopefully it’s not.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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