Huffington's House of Horrors
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When Arianna Huffington founded The Huffington Post on May 9, 2005, she opened her new Internet venture with a pledge, as quoted by Newsweek: “If you’re looking for the usual flame-throwing, name-calling, and simplistic attack dog rhetoric....don’t bother coming to The Huffington Post.”
Back in March, Huffington censored unauthorized commenters expressing regret that bombers in Afghanistan failed to kill Vice President Dick Cheney, drawing criticism for crushing free speech from HBO talk-show host Bill Maher. But the HuffPost’s official bloggers, many of them Hollywood celebrities, have often matched that harshness of tone in posts that unloaded on the wrong-headedness of America and its re-election of the Bush administration, often loaded with profanity and crude sexual and excretory metaphors.
These blogs may not be typical, but they are common. Many bloggers in the Huffington house are liberals with a more conventionally combative tone and content. One example would be public-TV omnipresence Bill Moyers on May 11, offering a commentary later reproduced on taxpayer-supported PBS stations from coast to coast on Bill Moyers Journal: “You have to wonder how the last four years might have been different if only our President had asked sacrifice from everyone. Instead, mostly folks from the working class and professional soldiers are doing the dying in Iraq, while the rich spend their tax cuts. War on the cheap, except for those fighting it.”
But just as presidential candidates are remembered by their nastiest ads – ask Moyers about his role in Lyndon Johnson’s “Daisy” ads suggesting that the election of Barry Goldwater would lead to nuclear war – the Huffington Post might well be remembered for its nastiest posts, which would not lead the average Internet user to conclude that liberals are kind-hearted, compassionate, and tolerant of people with opposing viewpoints.