Worse Than Arianna Huffington

At the UCLA Festival of Books, I actually encountered somebody worse than Arianna Huffington.

I did not know this was possible.

Yet at a panel on the role of media in our society, Ms. Huffington was not the most obnoxious participant.

When asked what she read, she replied, “I read newspapers, and not just online. I read physical newspapers. I read the LA Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. I don’t believe newspapers need to die.”

With regards to whether organizations could charge for people to read their content, Ms. Huffington was convinced this would not work. “The only things people would pay for online are niche content or weird porn. Putting content behind walls will fail.”

While Ms. Huffington represents some of the worst of the new media, she ironically defends the worst of the old media.

“We can save journalism and newspapers.”

“The debate on torture is pathetic. When did torture become a leftist issue?”

“How did financial journalists miss the financial meltdown?”

“A New York Times article mentioned Goldman Sachs profits. The article was a reprint of a Goldman Sachs press release.”

Ms. Huffington freely admits that the mainstream media is a complete and utter disaster, but wants to save them anyway. Also, she criticizes them for getting stories wrong when the truth would benefit liberals. Yet she cannot bring herself to discuss that most of the mistakes of the mainstream media are what really benefit the liberals.

She did say one thing I agreed with, although her lack of courage was astounding. It was announced at the beginning of the session that recording devices were not allowed.

“In 2009, asking people not to record sessions about the media is absurd.”

She made this pious proclamation at the end of the session. This allowed her to get plenty of cheers from the room without actually accomplishing anything. A sincere move would have been to demand at the very beginning to allow recorders. Then again, much of liberalism is about symbolism and appearances, rather than concrete positives.

When she was asked about incorrect stories on her site, she simply responded by saying that the questioner should email her, and that she would look into it. I privately asked her about anti-Semitism on her site. I made it clear that I was not saying that she supported the anti-Semitism, but that it reflected badly on her. Perhaps I was being overly generous, but I erred on the non-accusatory side. She simply replied that if I found something to that effect, I should email her and she would look into it.

Marc Cooper was the voice of reason on the panel. While he was not a conservative, he was significantly less useless than the rest. In fact, he was actually worthwhile.

“Guttenberg invented the printing press to propagate the bible. Instead it led to secular humanism and the enlightenment.”

“In 1968, if we had fewer Washington reporters, we would have avoided war in Vietnam.”

“Text will survive. Newspapers will not.”

“The right to publish is only a decade old. I would take amateurs any day over the polished professionals.”

Sharon Waxman was the panelist that shilled for her former employer, the Jayson Blair Times.

“We learned nothing from Vietnam coverage. The media led us right into the 2003 Iraq War.”

“The New York Times is the establishment.”

“I regret that the news industry is losing professionals.”

Yet as dreadful as Ms. Huffington and Ms. Waxman were, there noses were barely in the air compared to the worst member of the panel.

James Rainey works for an inconsequental section of the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps that means he works for every section. Nevertheless, one sentence he uttered, taken completely in context, reflected why Americans should be disgusted with the media, and most liberals in general.

“I liked the old world where Walter Cronkite, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times ruled the world, and we could ignore you.”

The “you” he refers to are the citizen journalists, also known as bloggers. Mr. Rainey at least was an honest jack@ss. He admitted that he is an elitist snob. He was the moderator for this panel, which shows why the old media needs the Old Yeller treatment.

I asked him a public question, and he could barely contain his anger and contempt.

“I am a political blogger who admits his biases up front, and when I make a mistake, I issue a loud mea culpa. Why can’t the old media do the same? How many times do we have to experience ‘fake but accurate’ memos, Jayson Blair, secret troop movements being revealed, and corrections buried on page 37, before you realize the problem is oen of loq quality? You brag about 1-2 million people reading your paper, but 299 million people do not read it. Shouldn’t you be treated the same way as the financial firms you criticize? Doesn’t the idea of ‘creative destruction’ mean that, like Lehman Brothers, the Los Angeles Times and Jayson Blair Times should fail?”

The trick to asking a long question is to speak clearly but quickly.

Mr. Rainey seethed, and blathered on about how the mistakes I cited were aberrations. Evidence of high quality is found in, according to him, “recent Pulitzer Prizes.”

Is he kidding? Sadly, no. He actually believes that liberals giving each other awards actually means something. Sorry, but Oscars, Nobels, and Pulitzers have little to do with quality and much to do with ideology.

Rather than admit the problem, he simply denies the problem exists. You see, the problem is not the old media. It is ordinary people. Let me repeat his words again, which were not said in jest.

“I liked the old world where Walter Cronkite, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times ran the world and we could ignore you.”

Yes, Arianna Huffington is poison. Yet at least she is using the new media to spread her propaganda. She is a successful purveyor of hate speech.

James Rainey is the worst of all possible worlds. He is an ineffective purveyor of hate.

He is worse than Arianna Huffington.

May the Los Angeles Times, Jayson Blair Times, and every sneering member of their miserable money losing lot continue to rot to death.

eric

10 Responses to “Worse Than Arianna Huffington”

  1. Wow, talk about hate! Man, do you hate the NYT!

    There’s plenty of room for the professional press and the new media. They are not mutally exclusive. in fact, if anything, the new media is quite dependent on the old one. Of course, we can blissfully dream of an ignorant world without a professional press to report on events around it, and it just may happen. And then we can all be nice and stupid. But if that press dies, truly dies, the future will be very bleak indeed. True, the press has failed many times, as has all the other estates, but it is a vital organ in the body politic. If it dies, the body dies. Bett watch what you wish for, conservatives, it may come stupidly and mortally true.

    JMJ

  2. Dav Lev says:

    Unlike Eric, I don’t hate the New York Times. However, I’ll be damned if
    I’m going to pay 2.00 for a daily.

    Many decades ago, I worked for a company in the “Big Apple” and
    admit to purchasing the paper to read on the subway. It was then
    .25. So was a container of milk.

    By the time I got to my work, I had read about half the paper.
    On the way home, I read the other half. Then I wasn’t much into
    sports, so I ignored the article about the Yankees.

    I was younger (much), and very, very gullible.
    I’ve grown up since then. I will read an article occasionally
    on the Net (thanks guys), but purchase it daily….hell no.

    As I tell friends and Internetters I meet online..if you don’t like
    the NYTimes..don’t buy it. Same applies to Haaretz, a liberal-leftist
    appeasement orietated Israeli paper, which blames Israel for everything
    from Arab’s firing Kassams, to the continued capture of Shalit (over 3 years). It’s all Israel’s fault they say. If only Israel withdrew to the pre-67 borders, gave up Jerusalem and allowed 5m Muslims into it..the conflict
    would end.

    A friend told me several months ago, “I don’t buy the NYTimes
    or the LA Times, both liberal rag sheets”. He said it all.

    David Brooks is the only columnist I watch on TV (TV talk shows
    most especially PBS-and the News Hour). I try and read his columns.

    His problem however is he is a “moderate conservative”. He
    adulates Obama, and his only criticism of him is he is reaching for
    pie in the sky and cannot pay for it. He likes Obama’s smooth style,
    and his easy, detached approach (duh). Personally I prefer Truman
    or Nixon. Mr. Obama’s middle name should be nuance.

    Only criticism?..David, where have you been?

    David was in Israel recently..and had a colume about Israeli
    brashness. (Has anyone ever told him that New Yorkers are far
    more brash?) and they talk funny..with their dees, dos..get the point!

    He wants the IDF to withdraw from the West Bank..I don’t.

    Like others of his ilk, he is naive about the Muslim mentality.

    He should have loudly condemned Obama for his retreat and defeat
    foreign policies..complete with apologies for all our alleged (US) wrongs.

    While all this is happening, the Arab-Muslim worlds are again raising
    their oil and natural gas prices to soak the rest of us..

    To top it off, Turkey and Syria have conducted joint military maneuvers (who are they to defend against-Turkey is part of NATO?).
    The US under Gates and Bush are supplying Lebanon with advanced
    state of the art weaponry..to supposedly give them some punch.
    (Against whom, Hezbollah?).

    So, NYTimes and David Brooks…come down from your high perches
    and smell the air like the rest of us. You might be in for a shock.

  3. Eagle 6 says:

    When at West Point many years ago, we had to be able to cite at least 3 headlines from national and international news and recount sporting events daily…we were rather young to be doing analysis on these articles…the cost of papers should be directly proportionate to how much advertisements bring in…so astute newspaper leaders would tailor articles toward audience and those who advertise… with the red ink, something isn’t working. USA is doing ok because they use color and big words…not “big” in terms of catering to well educated people but big in terms of print…and they use color…and they appeal to emotions up front while not hiding these appeals in pseudo-intellectual babble… but neither they nor NYT have a funnies page because it would be redundant…

  4. hauk says:

    Awhile back, it became apparent that people were choosing to get their music online in a digital format called Mp3s. In the absence of a pay site where they could get a guarantee of quality, most people were using a site called Napster to download music illegally.

    The Music Industry had two options. Create a platform where people could pay for a quality product at a decent price, or attempt to destroy this.

    They attempted to destroy Napster.

    Ultimately, all they achieved was to create a “Pirate Culture” -the people they attacked developed a victim complex, which lead to massive piracy on multi levels, and ultimately, when the Itunes platform did become available- the majority of people chose to continue downloading illegally.

    The Music Industry recovered, to a certain extent, by reinventing themselves. They now focus on tours and major artist development, instead of churning out CD after CD.

    Maybe Newspapers can do the same. Currently, I get the majority of my news from Cnn.com, Michaelsavage.com, and occasionally Time or Newsweeks websites. Plus whatever links pop up my way, and the present company, of course. We do not have a drought of information- and right now we don’t need the Newspapers to provide us with the news.

    So how can they reinvent themselves before they create a “NewsPirate” Subculture?

  5. Dan and Eagle have a fair and valid point – people pay for what they want only if they have to. With the advent of free internet media, newspapers are hard-pressed for readers. But it goes on. As Eagle said, advertisers go to the readers, and with readership down, the ads have gone away. What you guys leave out, though, is the classifieds – a huge portion of revenue, and that’s way down because of free classifieds like Craigslist, Monster, Career Builder, AllRetailJobs, personals sites, Yellowpages.com, as well as state-run job boards like One Stop Workforce centers and such. So, there’s much more to this decline in revenue than just readership, though readership is still very significant in all this. Eagle is right, afterall – Americans have become morons who prefer stupid pictures and stupid stories over hard, important news. When I hear the complaints of the sheepy masses about the big papers, all I hear, “LA LA LA LA LA!!! I’m not listening! I want to be ignorant!” I hear, “Hey, look at this anecdote! See? This paper or that paper is a bunch of phonies and liars!” Just plain stupid nonsense. All papers make mistakes, let alone the goofballs like us on the web. but the papers most all own up to those mistakes, contrary to the belief of our good host. If only bloggers were so honest.

    I guess what I’m saying is this: the decline of the American newspaper is a symptom of the decline of America.

    JMJ

  6. Oh, I forgot: the papers most all own up to those mistakes … and what is or isn’t a “mistake” is often a subjective opinion. I for one am grateful for some of the stories you guys say are mistakes or worse.

    JMJ

  7. Eagle 6 says:

    JMJ, One of the reasons I have such a hard time blasting NYTs or other info sources is the intellectual dishonesty sometimes used to counter what some right wingers consider unfair reporter. To wit, my father-in-law, bless his heart, forwarded a message a few days ago that contained just enough specific facts to make his message credible: in a nutshell, the message was that the Obama administration had just approved $20.3 M to support Hamas refugees who had lost their homes and were going to re-locate thousands of homeless American hating Palestinians to the US. The truth was enough to make me get fired up – (i.e. carving out $20.3M to give to Palestinians) because as much as I disagree with giving out free money, if we are going to do it anyway, let’s keep it within the family. As it is, we neutered any good argument we might have had about the $20.3M because we attributed it to a falsehood rather than an egregious truth… which brings us back to Eric and JMJ’s arguments – without government intervention, the public will do two basic things – gravitate to sources they want to believe, credible or not (CNN vs FOX; Washington Post vs Washington Times; Tygrrr Express vs Moveon.org…et al) is it no surprise that Fox reports 98% of the populace agree with enhanced coercion, and the same survey might net 90% disagree with it from another source? Americans are great people – they are like Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors – if there isn’t an enemy in front of them, they will gladly kick the devil out of each other…

  8. Eagle 6 says:

    Gosh, I’m not even drunk and can’t seem to maintain a train of thought… without government intervention most people will either gravitate to what they already believe or have unique Ford moments which often lead to acting like Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors who don’t have an enemy!!

  9. Micky 2 says:

    Jeez, as much as I cant stand Arianna I never thought someone could be more arrogant and proud of it.
    I predict that whithin ten years newspapers will be a novelty, like 8 tracks, as everything will be accesible thru more modern and compact technology.
    laptops will be a dime a dozen and info will be so abundant it will only be a matter of sorting it by credibilty standards.
    The more we get the moguls out of the way that dictate what content there should be ( Soros, Huffington,etc..) and dismatle the love connection between liberals and the media the more truth we’ll be exposed to.

  10. Laree says:

    worse than Huffington or worse than the standard Huffington set? If Huffington needs to be the low water mark we measure all others so be it who am I to dissent 🙂

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