Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart said this morning that Rep. Anthony Weiner has offered only a "limited version of the truth" at his press conference in which he admitted sending illicit photos to women online, but that he does not intend to release any more information about the congressman's Twitter scandal.
"I think now that there's going to be an ethics investigation, we'll start heading down the path towards the truth," Brietbart said on CBS' "The Early Show." "I think that perhaps he's offered a limited version of the truth. You know, it's certainly a step in the right direction."
When asked by anchor Erica Hill if he has more information to release about Weiner, Breitbart replied, "I have no intention to release any more information. I think that we're heading down the proper path."
When the Weiner photo appeared on his Twitter page, apparently showing him in his underwear, the congressman originally claimed his account had been hacked.
On "The Early Show" Breitbart said that after his website biggovernment.com posted the now-infamous picture of Weiner seven days ago, HE became a target.
"I mean, this thing started about 10 days ago, on Friday the 27th," he said. "And the next day, for three days - Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it was excruciating - the plan that he concocted and he's going to have to take responsibility for, and the organized left and the media framed me as the person who was the hacker. And that was unbelievably difficult to have to deal with during that period of time.
"They also falsely accused me of releasing the name of the girl in Seattle. They said that I savaged her. But we chose not to give her name. So, you know, for me this is very important to get the truth out."
At a press conference Monday Weiner admitted he had lied - his Twitter account was not hacked, he had sent out pictures of himself to women - and he apologized to Breitbart and other members of the media whom he'd misled.
Breitbart actually took the stage before Weiner's apology to claim he had been right all along. "I think we were vindicated at first after a three-day frenzy of trying to attack my journalism," he said.
"Breitbart has an ability not just to break news, but to insert himself in the news and really drive a conversation, with him at the center of it," said Ken Vogel of Politico.com. "Not only did his website get credit for breaking the story, he made himself a central component in the story by challenging Rep Weiner's story."
When asked by Hill why he'd chosen to go public with the information about Weiner, he defended it as "inherently newsworthy, as the front of the New York Post and the fact that I'm sitting here right now [prove].
"The fact that he tweeted it wasn't what caused us to [pull] the trigger to run it. It was when he started to cover up. He started to erase all of his photos immediately as we were investigating if this really did emanate from his own Twitter feed. He took down all of his photos. The girl in Seattle took down her Facebook page. She took down her - this was all Friday evening. A lot of weird behavior happening. And then he finally tweeted that he was hacked.
"When a Congressman tweets on his account that he's been hacked - I'm sorry, that's news," Breitbart said."
Breitbart: Weiner "invited this level of scrutiny" ("Washington Unplugged" video)
"What bothered you more about the story? Is it what took place? Or the fact that he had lied about it?" asked Hill.
"Well, personally, the lying part. But, yes, the cover-up is worse than the crime," Breitbart said. "And he really started the cover-up right away. Understandably so. If you tweet something like that and you erase it and you type that you, you know, that you were hacked, it's understandable why he would try to cover it up. But it's the length that he went to try and cover it up, and willing to allow for innocent people to be attacked and mercilessly so."
Breitbart's criticisms of mainstream media ("Washington Unplugged" video)
When asked about his attacks on the media for what he sees as bias - and his own, lesser record of publishing similarly negative, scandal-worthy information about figures on the right - Breitbart suggested it wasn't because of his unwillingness to attack conservative figures but because people didn't need to bring such information to him.
"I have yet to be sent that information," he said. "People who come to me with information know that if they went to ABC, CBS, NBC, New York Times, they have a proclivity to present a more liberal slant to things. So people come to me because they know that I can get out stories that, if it were Republican, it would have come out, you know, in the mainstream media.
"So, if people start sending me profoundly offensive things and corruption that comes from the Republican Party. I'm bipartisan in terms of reporting corruption. "
"So you would post both?" asked Hill.
"Oh, of course! "
This isn't the first time that Breitbart has been involved in a political scandal. Last July he posted excerpts of a speech made by U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod that appeared to have racially charged undertones. The ensuing controversy resulted in her being fired from her post. Breitbart was then accused of taking Sherrod's words out of context; he later posted the entire speech. Sherrod was offered her job back, and has now filed a multi-million defamation suit against Breitbart.
"Andrew Breitbart is very defensive about his credibility and about his track record, and he realizes that he has these strikes against him," said Politico's Vogel. "And so he is actively trying to show that he is a reliable news source, and this [Weiner controversy] will help him."
On "The Early Show" Breitbart said reports that the Sherrod lawsuit was for $13 million were "misinformation."
"You know, the media has been waiting for a moment for me to fall on my face, especially after the ACORN story which went against the narrative that Barack Obama's ACORN was this vaunted, wonderful organization," he said. "And I was prepared for a moment that they would exploit to try to take me down.
"Interesting: Last week, Chris Matthews, my critic, he does not like me. He does not like my politics. When Joan Walsh of Salon tried to bring up the Sherrod story to try to derail it, to try and change the subject. He said, 'No, I've looked at the video. I've read the article. Nobody's read the article. Nobody's looked at the video that he put out there and he kept in the part. He kept in the part that the media says that I didn't keep in, the redemptive angle.'
"So when the media does its work and looks at my 1,400-word piece that was an attack on the NAACP's false attack on the Tea Party, they will see that I will, again, be vindicated in this lawsuit."
When asked by Hill if the Sherrod episode changed in any way how he does business," he replied, "Yeah, I gotta be honest with you. You have to dot your i's and cross your t's. I know that I'm going to be under an incredible level of scrutiny because I am who I am. I have a controversial reputation. So I go out of my way to dot my i's, cross my t's.
"When you do a story, and if you talk to any news producer, when you put out a story of that level of controversy, you go out of your way. Because your career could be over, and your publishing empire could be done in a day."