Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

The Case Against Huffington Post

Michael Wolfe writes on the Huffington Post that it is a “shibboleth” that The New York Times is important for the good of journalism and notes that an evolving piece of conventional wisdom is that “the Huffington Post is the new New York Times.”
I know Huffington Post. Huffington Post is a friend of mine. I write for Huffington Post . But, The Huffington Post is no New York Times — nor does it attempt to be.
The idea that Huffington Post, or the explosion of interesting internet news or blogging sites, can replace journalistic institutions like the New York times or other newspapers or dinosaurs of the Mainstream Media truly misunderstands the web, newspapers, journalism and the serious threat posed to democracy if the news gathering institutions fail.
I really do love Huffington Post. It does a superb job packaging, filtering and choosing the news (albeit with a liberal slant), and is one of the best places around for commentary and analysis. And it sometimes breaks news, too. But it is not primarily a news gathering organization — as a look at the Huffington Post home page will reveal.
On Huffington Post’s home page Thursday around 4:15, I counted 29 news headlines (I may have missed some because they update the page so frequently). Of those, 9 were Associated Press stories, 11 linked directly to stories reported by mainstream media outlets (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN etc), 3 were written by Huffington Post staffers but were basically summaries of what they’d read in mainstream media outlets, 4 were from Huffington Post staffers but based on video clips or statements in the public domain (e.g. Nancy Pelosi’s press conference, John Conyers’ “Dear Colleague letter). One was original HuffPo analysis that was excellent but involved no new reporting and one I couldn’t quite classify (they reported, based on Lisa Bonet’s official fan site, that her son would be named Nakoa-Wolf Mankauapo Namakaeha Momoa).
In other words, of the 29 stories, 23 were created by or based entirely on journalism by mainstream media outlets. The others were based on public domain (watching public press conferences or TV shows). None were based on original, gum-shoe reporting.
Again, I mean this as no criticism of the Huffington Post or, for that matter the Drudge Report, which performs a similar function. They do break news, too (including some big stories, like Obama’s “bitter” gaffe). And spotting and filtering the news is a valuable function. What’s more, they keep mainstream media on its toes.
But Huffington Post most often relies on the reporting done by the much reviled MSM. Obviously, we need Huffington Post and The New York Times.

Comments read comments(6)
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posted March 2, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I thought Huffpost was a lot more relevant until i started following it and writing comments. They have the pertinent stories but it really is about the format and the comments are the real relevancy of this site. The comments, however, are so purposely censured, either by uneducated or biased people that it makes Huffpost a social rag and not an honest news outlet.

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posted May 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm

If the New York Times, God Forbid, should stop publishing, there will be no Huffington Post. All those vaguely paid Huffington Post writers and techs will have to do something else for a second-hand reporting gig. If you look at the Huffington Post on technical merits what you will find is even more sad, with a growing codependency on Facebook, probably because of an inability to do stand-alone social networking correctly, particularly on IOS. The Huffington Post NewsGlider App (which in app store comments is universally hated) can’t even show videos let alone provide the same social networking functions of their web sie — when it’s fully functional, about 40% of the time. As for the highly editorialized content, Ms. Huffington is basically disrespectful of the President given her level of criticism. She says he should be elected and ridicules his policies as a one percenter, indistinguishable from the worse Fox News pundits in the ridiculousness of her opinions and “facts.”. If you want to see how liberal she really is, just consider her history of her worker non-payment, and look at the current work environment for her staff — a single room where people and machines are crammed together in sweat shop configuration.

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posted May 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm

@mveeh I absolutely agree that the comments are Huffington Post’s life and therefore I have stopped commenting given this lack of open discourse and Arianna’s disrespect for the President. Maybe she’s mad at him for calling her out about not paying workers at the Correspondents Diner.

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posted May 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Huffington Post is so aggravating!!!You click on a link to get that info and you most of the time have to endure an AD first!! Knock off the ads & get on with what I’m trying to find !!!!

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posted May 16, 2013 at 12:01 am

IMO, HP is essentially but a modern day cigar store indian upon which one may insert a nickel and play a favorite song no one else can hear.

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posted May 29, 2013 at 5:24 am

Appreciate for sharing !

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