Jonathan Chait

Arianna Huffington's Spin

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner]

In an excellent interview from Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Andrew Goldman has this exchange with Arianna Huffington:

You’ve been saying recently that The Huffington Post is not a lefty publication?
Actually I’ve been saying that for three years. The tag line that we’ve used a lot is “Beyond left and right.”

Three years ago was 2008. I looked at The Huffington Post a great deal during the election. It felt like the Internet version of Keith Olbermann’s show, and if that’s not lefty. . . .
Why don’t you be more specific? What were the messages that you considered lefty?

It’s as if you’re trying to tell me that Smurfs aren’t blue.
I’m just telling you that it is very clear that we have progressive views, but to call everything we’re doing lefty it misses the whole point that American policy needs to be redefined beyond left and right. It’s a completely obsolete view of politics.

Huffington has been saying this a lot lately. And even as far back as 2008, in one of her books, she wrote:

"Someone please alert the media: not every issue fits into your cherished right/left paradigm. Indeed, that way of looking at the world is becoming less and less relevant--and more and more obsolete. And more and more dangerous."

As I pointed out in my review of the book for TNR, these sentences occurred in a book called Right is Wrong! This is the game Huffington plays, and has been playing, for quite some time. Chris Rovzar, in a short New York magazine piece, tries to defend Huffington by saying she is "inadvertantly hilarious." He then goes on to add, "But she's not an asshole. She's actually a very bright and adept interview subject. She wouldn't be where she is today if she weren't capable of charm, and of handling a simple Q&A." This would seem to contradict Rovzar's earlier confession that her answers were inadvertantly hilarious, but no matter. Huffington's clever reinventions should never be taken at face value.

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