Sunday, April 24, 2005

Single Greek Female Seeks Rathole

Apparently, Arianna Huffington, the unintentionally amusing former California gubernatorial candidate, really is serious about launching her new blog site which she hopes will be a competitor of the Drudge Report.

Gawker (which is run by rival blog entrepreneur Nick Denton and has ridiculed the venture since its initial announcement) reprints an email it says Huffington sent out claiming a launch date of next month.

Reading this article in the NYT, I'm not quite sure why anyone would want to read her site. True, there are some interesting names in the list of promised contributors (Gary Hart, Walter Cronkite, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, Warren Beatty, James Fallows, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Diane Keaton, Norman Mailer, Mort Zuckerman, Tony Blankley, David Frum, etc.), but I'm not quite sure any of these people will be willing to fit within the form, particularly the older folks like Cronkite and Schlesinger who probably use a computer little, if at all.

Also, is it just me or does this whole venture sort of seem like a remake? Back in the early days of the mag, David Talbot et al. tried to make a splash by hiring the likes of Sydney Blumenthal, Camille Paglia, David Horowitz, and Garrison Keillor and then distributing this expensive content online for nothing. It didn't work out so well. Except for Blumenthal, none of these people is left at Salon. (Incidentally, Huffington herself is on retainer there as a columnist.)

Unless Huffington's stable of contributors is willing to work at low cost, an unlikely prospect, I don't see how this venture is going to be successful: it's got a big payroll full of prima donnas, being run by people (including former Drudge staffer Andrew Breitbart) who don't seem to understand blogs, and it's got a lame moniker: The Huffington Post.