viernes, marzo 14, 2008

Huffington Post, el mejor

The Guardian acaba de dar a The Huffington Post el primer lugar en su lista de los 50 blogs más importantes del planeta. Más allá de lo majadera de estos rankings, es evidente que el sitio fundado por la columnista greco-estadounidense Arianna Huffington y Kenneth Lerer no sólo se ha llenado de premios, sino que ha ganado un nivel de influencia que muchos medios, con más historia y tradición, apetecen. Huffington Post es un sitio armados con hiperlynks, pero que además cuenta con un centenar de destacados colaboradores (Norman Mailer era uno de ellos) que llenan sus páginas con columnas, artículos y videos. El sitio además, es un potente vlogs. Arianna Huffington, una de las 100 personas más influyentes de EE.UU. según Time, creó este blog con un perfil marcadamente liberal y más inclinado a la izquierda, pero construido sobre la base de contenidos mucho más potentes que, por ejemplo Drudge Report, lo que al poco tiempo lo puso entre los sitios más influyentes de ese país. Fama que ha crecido con las primarias en EE.UU. Los siguientes artículos desarrollan la de historia Huffington Post.-El primero es de Slate y se publicó para la fundación del blog, los otros corresponden al NYT.

Artículo Slate
Artículo NYT
Artículo Marketing Huffingtonpost

Arianna Huffington's new Web site, the "Huffington Post," neither overpromises nor overdelivers in its debut edition today, which marries Drudge Report-style links to news stories and media sneak peeks (Gerald Posner's forthcoming book on the Saudis' doomsday machine) with dozens of brief blog entries by Hollywood celebrities, celebrity wives, comedians, opinion journalists, book authors, playwrights, magazine editors, an economist, a writer-director, a law professor, a former lobbyist, a music tycoon—and probably Huffington's gardener if you click deep enough.

Seeing as the Huffington show just opened, fairness insists that we not ask today whether it's any good but what sort of obstacles await its impresario.
The LA-centric Huff Post's distinguishing mark is its celebrity bloggers. Like Huffington's other professional projects—dinner parties, the KCRW radio show Left, Right, and Center, books, a mutating political career (conservative congressman's wife turned divorce-settlement liberal populist and gubernatorial candidate)—her Web site glories in its ecumenical approach to the policy debate. Liberals were the represented minority at her Washington dinner parties in the 1990s, when upgrading her malleable husband from right-wing House member to president was the mission, and they created the illusion that a real conversation was happening at the Huffington mansion. Today, conservatives (David Frum, Kevin Hassett, and their political siblings) provide the minority voice for the liberal echo chamber that Huffington seems bent on constructing.

The essence of conversation is disputation, a quality found in surplus at the best blogs. But none of the alleged bloggers at the Huff Post are really arguing with anybody or reacting to much of anything in the news in their first entries, perhaps because they were asked to pen "evergreens" that could run any time the site launched. These entries read like the opening lines from ungiven speeches that dribble off into empty mutterings ("Dr. King knew that an improved reality begins with a dream. In dreams begin responsibilities," concludes director Mike Nichols today.)
Do these people intend to engage? Is it even in their wheelhouse to debate? How will the Huff Post's liberal core react when its right-wing press contributors, such as Byron York and Tony Blankley, bring a hard one down on their snout? Hollywood liberals such as Aaron Sorkin and Laurie David rarely encounter sharp political disagreement inside the cocoons of their Hollywood salons, and when they do it's not generally with a practiced rhetorician. Or worse still, what sort of psychic meltdown awaits Huffingliberal Rob Reiner if he finds himself in a vicious intellectual rumble with liberal journalists he regards as fellow travelers, such as my friend David Corn of The Nation? When you're used to being patted on the back all the time, a devastating counterargument feels like a sucker punch. Does Huffington keep enough air kisses in stock to mend all the owies?

Completely outside of Huffington's command and control, of course, are the millions of thugs, opinion artists, and expert witnesses who inhabit the blogosphere, and they aren't giving her site a decent interval before pouncing. Reading the hundreds of blog entries about Huffington's site from today is like watching a swarm of fire ants invade a robin's nest and turn the chicks to red pulp. Not all Hollywood folks are well-read, but everybody out there reads their notices. After the bloggers attack they'll be nostalgic for the drubbing Variety gave their last picture.
So, best of luck, Huff Posties. After you return from your shakedown run, I'll read you more closely—and less charitably. That is, if you survive the fire ants.


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