Huffington's House of Horrors
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Conclusion: When Will the Media Bring Scrutiny to This Mud Pit?
Arianna Huffington’s blog was celebrated by liberals from the moment it was born two years ago. After a time as a “compassionate conservative” guru to Newt Gingrich in the mid-1990s, the former Mrs. Huffington followed figures like David Brock on a familiar path to sudden discovery and celebration by the liberal media elites by utterly rejecting everything remotely right-wing. In a 1995 cover story by art critic Robert Hughes in Time magazine, Gingrich and Huffington were denounced in tandem: “This is the guy who hates the ‘60s but reincarnates them in his 40-acres-and-a-laptop Utopianism; who thinks kitsch ‘futurologists’ like Alvin and Heidi Toffler are gurus and that a fund-raising cultist like Arianna Huffington is an intellectual.”
But 11 years later, spurred by her blog, Time named her one of the Top 100 “most influential people on the planet”– honored with a tribute to her conversion penned by her friend Al Franken, who claimed all the credit: “No doubt because of my persuasive prowess and Arianna’s intellectual openness, she switched, becoming a lefty. With her indefatigable persistence, resourcefulness and good humor, Arianna, 55, has gone from ambitious project to ambitious project with varying degrees of success, finding herself the proprietor of the widely read, hugely influential liberal blog Huffington Post.”
Top TV news executives and newspaper and magazine editors and publishers often proclaim in the public square that the “mainstream media” exist to offer the citizenry a sober and thoughtful take on politics, something more urbane and sophisticated than those distasteful ad hominem rants on blogs and talk radio. The media’s celebration of The Huffington Post as an admirable sort of venture-capital Blog Incorporated of the American left betrays that those alleged media guardians of civility often enjoy a harsh political barb as much as anyone – especially when they come at the expense of Republicans and conservatives.