Of all the pieces to be yielded by Andrew Breitbart’s death, this one is handily the strangest: A report from Daily Mail columnist Toby Harnden that the controversial conservative pundit was working on a CNN show with Anthony Weiner, the New York congressman ousted by a sexting scandal last year.
Toby Harnden writes for The Daily Mail, in a just-published report:
Last weekend, Breitbart told friends he was in early talks with CNN about a Crossfire-style show in which he would argue from the Right alongside former US House representative Anthony Weiner taking him on from the Left.
Breitbart was, of course, responsible for breaking open the scandal that took Rep. Weiner down. He appeared at the press conference to hijack it (one Observer reporter noted at the time: “This is like when The Joker takes over Gotham“).
A spokeswoman for CNN told Harnden that the network had no comment. So: Not a denial. UPDATE: Dylan Byers at Politico gets the denial from CNN that Harnden couldn’t (or didn’t):
“It’s totallly false,” CNN’s Edie Emery said. “CNN was not in discussions.”
For context, networks have talks all the time about potential projects, and CNN—which hasn’t exactly performed well as a network over the last few years compared to its cable news rivals—probably talked about quite a few possibilities, some of them as extreme (and insane) as this.
Then again, they did put a once-scandalized New York governor on their network, and one of his first guests turned out to be Henry Blodget, someone Spitzer had taken down during his time as New York’s A.G. Another guest on Spitzer’s first show?
Andrew Breitbart, of course.
Also, West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, who—in an incredibly bizarre coincidence—Toby Harnden also spoke to about Breitbart:
Sorkin told me via email: “I e-mailed Andrew last Friday because the episode of The Newsroom I’m currently writing takes place during the week the Anthony Weiner photos were in the news.
“Andrew and I had struck up a friendly e-mail relationship and so I reached out to ask him if he could give me a timeline of the events from his point of view. I got a quick response -‘I’m in’ – and we were supposed to meet for coffee at the end of the day today [Thursday].”
Sorkin said that the coffee would have been “about Andrew shedding any new light on the Anthony Weiner incident” and “we’ll likely see shards of Andrew during his various appearances that week” in news footage from that time.
The entire thing is odd, and—if true—demonstrates at least two of the three entities in question’s potential desperation to get back into the spotlight.
Which is to say: Andrew Breitbart’s involvement in the potential for this show is undoubtedly the most unsurprising element of it.
CNN: Breitbart-Weiner show ‘totally false’ [Dylan Byers/Politico]
Andrew Breitbart was ‘in talks with CNN’ over new show with Anthony Weiner [Daily Mail]
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