Huffington's House of Horrors
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When she founded her blog two years ago, Arianna Huffington made a pledge that was quoted by Newsweek: “If you’re looking for the usual flame-throwing, name-calling, and simplistic attack dog rhetoric....don’t bother coming to The Huffington Post.” But an MRC review of the first two years of the HuffPost’s content reveals that flame-throwing, name-calling, and hate speech against conservatives are all on the Web site’s everyday menu.
True to everything pundits decry about the blogosphere, the official bloggers of The Huffington Post, from celebrity dilettantes to lesser-known attack dogs, have made wild mudslinging and hate speech, usually against conservatives, a constant aim. They have savaged not only conservative opinion leaders, not only the Bush team, but the American public for its re-election of the Bush administration, in articles often loaded with profanity and crude sexual and excretory metaphors [WARNING: Objectionable language appears uncensored].
Actor Sean Penn denounced America for its stupidity in allowing the war in Iraq: “We know it’s not the administration alone, but a culture at large, cloaking itself in self-righteousness, religion, and adolescent hero-dreaming machismo.” He mocked Rush Limbaugh as a drug addict, Sean Hannity as a “whore” for Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, and Bill O’Reilly for “massaging his rectum with a loofah.” America’s failure to impeach President Bush would disgrace the nation: “we become a cum-stain on the flag we wave.”
Actor Alec Baldwin denounced the Vice President: “Cheney is a terrorist. He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately.” When this drew critics on the Internet, Baldwin insincerely apologized: “How about something more measured, then? How about...a lying, thieving Oil Whore. Or, a murderer of the U.S. Constitution?”
On the Fourth of July, 2006, Baldwin cooked up a double-murder fantasy. After dispatching Osama bin Laden with a box-cutter and hurling his corpse off a high balcony, “in the final stroke of luck, Bin Laden lands on Dick Cheney. God bless America.”
Actor John Cusack declared: “Nixon, a true fiend, looks like a paragon of virtue next to the criminally incompetent robber barons now raiding the present and the future...This is indeed a league of bastards – these men are human scum.”
Cusack then approvingly quoted from the late drug-addled journalist Hunter S. Thompson saying America now looked like “a Nazi monster” and denounced conservatives as “flag-sucking half-wits” who “speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us – they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis.”
Actress Christine Lahti proclaimed “Cindy Sheehan is my hero,” and President Bush wouldn’t talk to her because he “is scared shitless...his hands are covered in the blood of Cindy Sheehan’s son. They are dripping with the blood of all who have died there.”
HuffPost blogger Peter Mehlman, a former Washington Post sports reporter and Seinfeld script writer, baldly declared that Adolf Hitler was a better man than President George Bush, because even though Hitler tried to eliminate the Jews, “the Bush administration is the first that doesn’t even mean well. You could argue that even the world’s worst fascist dictators at least meant well.”
Political pundits love to hail the “new media” in their new role of adding the voice of “the people” to the American political process. But any journalist or political analyst or media theorist who wants to lobby for accuracy and civility in our political discourse should not ignore the less than honorable and respectable verbiage that Arianna Huffington is publishing and enabling on her weblog.