Accuracy in Media

What qualifies Arianna Stassinopoulos to comment on anything? As Arianna Huffington, she is a popular figure for Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz. Kurtz attributes a quote to “Arianna,” as opposed to somebody with a first and last name. In return, she calls him “Howie.”

Stassinopoulos still retains her married name, Huffington, even though she is divorced from her gay husband and oil-heir multimillionaire Michael Huffington.  He left her for another man and she was left with the couple’s two teenage daughters and a $7 million house in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. Her books include “The Female Woman,” described as an analysis of “the changing roles of women.” That certainly describes her. “She has reinvented herself countless times over the last 10 years,” noted Sarah Kershaw of the New York Times.

But it still seems mystifying why Huffington, a feminist, retains her married name. Is it because Huffington is easier to pronounce than Stassinopoulos?

Now Huffington writes a blog that features the views of rich Hollywood celebrities. Despite these dubious “credentials,” Kurtz not only quotes her frequently but features her on his TV show, CNN’s Reliable Sources.

My quick unofficial count of the number of times that Kurtz has recently quoted or mentioned her in the Post: May 9, June 16, August 21, October 13, and October 17. She has appeared on his Reliable Sources show on August 21, October 2, and October 16. 

On May 9, Kurtz had reported the launch of her Huffington Post website. He described Huffington as someone “who knows something about seizing the spotlight” and that her blog would “bring her another 15 minutes” of fame. Well, it’s lasted much longer than 15 minutes, as far as Kurtz and his readers and viewers are concerned.

Now described as “an impassioned, independent advocate for political reform and social awareness,” The Nation magazine once described her as “a Newt Gingrich conservative.” Now she’s a left-wing Democrat.

A shameless publicity-seeker, back in August of 2003 she filed papers to run for California governor while Arnold Schwarzenegger, and his wife Maria Shriver, were arriving at the registrar at the same time.  According to the Post, “Huffington managed, while knocking down a bank of microphones, to squeeze herself next to Schwarzenegger as he emerged from the registrar’s building, putting her face in the frame with his and Shriver’s that would be on many Sunday front pages.” Huffington ended up getting one percent of the vote. It was reported during the race that she wrote off huge deductions and paid $771 in federal taxes over two years.

Frankly, I don’t read her material. But I went to the site and looked through some of her comments. Here they are:

Huffington on Cindy Sheehan: “By any measure, Cindy Sheehan’s Crawford vigil has been a triumph, capturing the attention of the nation and finally making Iraq the focus of a much-needed national debate. Not bad for a plain-spoken mom in a floppy hat.”

Excuse me, but Sheehan was the product of the sophisticated Fenton public relations firm. It used to represent the Salvadoran guerillas and the communist Sandinistas.

Huffington’s latest cause has been to implicate a long list of Bush officials in “Plamegate,” the naming of Joseph Wilson’s CIA wife. Huffington calls it “the Rove-Libby-Gonzalez-Card scandal,” meaning that the Attorney General and White House chief of staff are implicated. She has also suggested that U.S. Ambassador John Bolton is involved because he visited Judith Miller in jail.

For a time, it was reported that Huffington was associated with John-Roger, leader of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness. The purpose of this movement is to teach Soul Transcendence, “which is becoming aware of yourself as a Soul and as one with God, not as a theory but as a living reality.”

This is interesting. Perhaps Kurtz and Huffington are soul mates. Whatever the case, we are getting tired of the Howie and Arianna show.

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