Elisabeth Meinecke

Its revolting attacks on conservatives notwithstanding, The Huffington Post has achieved a level of mainstream acceptance that even a propaganda shop would envy.

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From Townhall Magazine's August feature, "The Huffington Post: The Left's Cocaine," by Dan Gainor:

If Joe Stalin and Joseph Goebbels had a love child, it might be called The Huffington Post.

The level of mainstream acceptance The Huffington Post has achieved to deliver its leftist message is virtually unmatched and something that would cause any propaganda shop to salivate. Gone are the old ways of sloppily re-editing stories to doctor a result. The site, “HuffPo” as it is often called, belongs to the White House press corps, runs Associated Press stories like a legit news operation and has access to that whole library of photographs. There’s no need to retouch a photo and edit out someone inconvenient.

And if the newsy approach doesn’t work, editors simply post a provocative stock photo with an appropriately obnoxious headline. It’s shocking. It’s outlandish. Its blog section beats on conservatives constantly.

Where else can you find headlines such as “The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum,” “Rise Up Ladies! If Your Man’s A Republican, Stop Having Sex With Him” and “Guantanamo: Using Religion as a Tool for Torture”?

The Huffington Post, the brainchild of conservative-turned-liberal Arianna Huffington, is one of the most dominant web-only information outlets anywhere. The Wall Street Journal recently cited HuffPo’s web traffic at 39 million unique visitors each month.

HuffPo will link to almost anything that sends eyeballs to the site, from a story about Octomom’s new-found career in porn to cute puppy or kitten pictures. One memorable headline alerted readers that: “Jennifer Aniston Bares Chest, Talks Body In Allure (PHOTOS).” Partially clothed celebs are another HuffPo hallmark.

Huffington’s Hollywood connections also made the site home to every Left Coast liberal you can think of—Alec Baldwin, John Cusack, Deepak Chopra, Sean Penn and onetime comedian Bill Maher, to name just a few. Most opinion posts push a lefty agenda, and everything is designed to drive traffic.

Yes, HuffPo does journalism. While it’s not as rabid as the blogs, much of it has the same liberal spin and the same hyperbolic headlines attacking the Right. Mostly that difference is just a convenient fig leaf to hide behind.

The site is laughably predictable. A few conservatives post there, but mainly HuffPo is filled with hundreds of thousands of articles and blog posts devoted to making conservatives appear a) evil, b) crazy, c) bigoted, d) stupid, and e) some combination of those four.

Every famous conservative (or anyone perceived to be conservative) is targeted for attack—Rush Limbaugh, Charles and David Koch, Glenn Beck, the tea party, Michele Bachmann, and, of course, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News. (Author’s note: Yes, even F+ level celebrity, me.) It’s like the Library of Congress for attacks against the Right.

 


And why not? HuffPo is cheering for Team Obama, according to this use of the first-person pronoun found their comedy section— and it’s presumably not a joke. “President Obama’s reelection is looking more and more likely. We think this is a very good thing,” the site wrote in an intro to a humor video about Obama’s campaign strategy.

There is really nothing else like HuffPo in the political world. It is an operation where content merges to pound out a theme: that conservatives must be reviled and defeated. The reviling hits a level to which most conservative-minded organizations refuse to descend. After all, how often does a popular conservative site bash liberal Catholics by saying they belong to a “Jesus-Eating Cult” or call for women to not have sex with Democrats?

That’s why it was surprising when the more mainstream AOL purchased The Huffington Post in 2011 for $315 million, netting Huffington herself a reported $100 million. But it’s been a year, and she recently had her wings clipped. While Huffington had been in charge of content at all AOL properties, she has been reined in and now is focused exclusively on HuffPo.

That’s still a lot. The Huffington Post has expanded in cities around the United States and internationally—Canada, France, the UK and now Spain have already been added. The platform continues to make Arianna a major player in both politics and the media.

No wonder. HuffPo has an avalanche of content, produced by more than 200 editors. It’s that shrill, finely-tuned leftist messaging that really puts the site in a class of its own.

BECOMING A MAJOR FORCE IN JOURNALISM

The Huffington Post is staffed by some of the best and brightest journalism has to offer. “The Internet Newspaper,” as it bills itself, has drawn staffers from some of the most prominent news outlets around—The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico and Newsweek, as well as the standard left-wing political shops. ...

Want more? Order the August issue of Townhall Magazine to read more of Gainor's article.


Elisabeth Meinecke

Elisabeth Meinecke is TOWNHALL MAGAZINE Managing Editor. Follow her on Twitter @lismeinecke.