Is Arianna Talking Out Both Sides of Her Blog?
By she, I mean Huffington Post creator Arianna Huffington, who electrified the worlds of blogs and politics by crafting a pointedly left-leaning collection of blogs with posts from notables such as Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner and George Clooney.
Wait a minute. Maybe not George.
Turns out, Clooney's recent, controversial HuffPost blog criticizing Democrats for not strenuously opposing the war in Iraq was actually cobbled together from interviews the salt-and-pepper-haired star gave to Larry King Live and the Guardian newspaper.
Huffington, who was one of New York Times reporter Judith Miller's biggest critics, admits she or her staff pulled together the quotes into a blog posting, sent them to his publicist for approval and then posted them on the site, with no acknowledgement of where the material actually came from.
Clooney admits he okayed the cobbling together of quotes, but didn't know they were going to be published without telling the reader where they came from.
And now Huffington has posted her second blog item on Clooney's blog item -- presumably written by her -- saying "some have asked, is a blog still a blog if it contains repurposed material? My answer is: absolutely. Who cares if the ideas were first expressed in a book, a speech, a play, or an interview? The medium isn't the message; the message is the message. With the right medium providing the needed amplification."
I've interviewed Arianna once and have blogged for Huffpost myself a few times. I know she's a smart lady who understands how media and journalism works. Which is why I have a hard time accepting she really believes this bilge water she's pushing.
She may not acknowledge it publicly, but one reason people are perusing her blog is for the star quality -- the change of spotting a post from a celebrity that makes a potent point. Her blog has always left users with the impression that celebrities are creating their own posts -- if not themselves, then with the help of tech savvy assistants. News that her people cobbled together a blog posting with about as limited contact with the celebrity as possible, only leads to another important question:
How many other posts are fakes?
It's too bad. I liked posting on HuffPost and enjoyed reading the work of others. But I -- and many others, I'll wager -- will never read an item from a well-known author quite the same way again.
And Arianna only has herself to blame.
Murder is the Case for Journalists in Iraq
The Committee to Protect Journalists has been keeping an eye on journalists' deaths in iraq, discovering -- surprise! -- murder is now the leading cause of death for journalists, and Iraqi reporters are the hardest hit.
Among the 91 journalists and media support workers killed in Iraq since the war started, 71 of them have been Iraqi -- an understandable situation, given that many western news organizations have begun using Iraqi reporters to go where they cannot.
Already, the iraq war has proven the most dangerous conflict for journalists in recent memory. And there seems to be no end in sight.