Skip to comments.Arianna’s Blog Blows: Will This Failure Finally Finish Her?
Posted on 05/09/2005 2:49:25 PM PDT by West Coast Conservative
Judging from todays horrific debut of the humongously pre-hyped celebrity blog the Huffington Post, the Madonna of the mediapolitic world has gone one reinvention too many. She has now made an online ass of herself. What Arianna Huffington's bizarre guru-cult association, 180-degree conservative-to-liberal conversion, and failed run in the California gubernatorial-recall race couldnt accomplish, her blog has now done: She is finally played out publicly. This Web-site venture is the sort of failure that is simply unsurvivable, because of all the advance publicity touting its success as inevitable. Her blog is such a bomb that its the box-office equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heavens Gate rolled into one. In magazine terms, its the disastrous clone of Tina Browns Talk, JFK Jr.s George or Maer Roshans Radar. No matter what happens to Huffington, its clear Hollywood will suffer the consequences.
It almost seems like some sick hoax. Perhaps Huffington is no longer a card-carrying progressive but now a conservative mole. Because she served up liberal celebs like red meat on a silver platter for the salivating and Hollywood-hating right wing to chew up and spit out.
Of course, only the fawning mainstream media didnt see this coming; instead, The New York Times, the New York Observer, the Los Angeles Times et al. were too busy breathlessly reporting Ariannas big plans and bons mots to bother to do any reporting. (The L.A. Times praising of her preening is understandable, since the parent companys Tribune Media Services stupidly signed on to syndicate the blogs star blather.)
In fact, theres a juicy behind-the-scenes story: The L.A. Weekly has learned that the blogs start-up was god-awfully conceived from the get-go. That Hollywood biggies gave her concept the cold shoulder. That Huffington tried to use smoke and mirrors to fund her venture. That she never told her house celebs that she was putting in charge of her Hollywood blog the one bloggist best known nationally for hating everything and everyone Hollywood: former Drudge Report aide-de-camp Andrew Breitbart, author of the salacious anti-show-biz book Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon The Case Against Celebrity. One of her Hollywood friends told me that Arianna said merely she had somebody from this world of blogging to help her. She felt very secure someone they brought in knew what they were doing. People would have gone crazy here if theyd known it was the guy who wrote that awful book.
Misstep after misstep. And nary a Big Media heavyweight like Tom Freston, Barry Diller or David Geffen in sight. The latters supposed involvement especially intrigued Matt Drudge, who asked the L.A. Weekly, Am I going to have to cancel my subscriptions to the trades? Is Geffen going to announce DreamWorks news on her blog? I can report that, despite the blogs pre-launch hype that he would be a charter member, Geffen never had any intention of blogging on Ariannas site. Moreover, sources tell me that Geffens people had to quietly tell Huffington to stop using his name as bait in her less-than-successful effort to fund the blog with Hollywood money.
When I asked Huffington about these and the other problems that befell her during the blogs planning, she kept trying to change the subject, especially when the conversation focused on her blogmeister, Breitbart. Finally, she resorted to a different ploy: She extended an invitation to me to join her blog. (When we were conceiving this, we said to each other, Do you think we could we get Nikki Finke? )
Forgive them, these bleating blowhards on Ariannas blog, because they know not what they do. Not Seinfeld has-been Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her untalented TV-hyphenate husband, Brad Hall, making unfunny shtick of the anti-gay-marriage movement. Not has-been director Mike Nichols, using the forum to parade his high school grasp of U.S. history by mentioning de Tocqueville and Dr. King in the same paragraph. Not has-been brat-packer John Cusack, penning the 459,308th remembrance of Hunter Thompson for the sole purpose of letting the world know that the actor scored an invite to the writers intimate memorial service. Still, the celebs arent to blame here, because they made the bad mistake of allowing Arianna to sweet-talk them into believing that they had something to say in the first place. (I was very moved, for example, by what Mike Nichols sent, Huffington told Newsweek. It was just such a beautiful expression of his thinking. Arianna must have been swooning over the fact that Nichols is married to Diane Sawyer, because it cant possibly be over the directors bombastic blog b.s.)
Theyre all lambs to the slaughter, baa, baa, baa, suddenly standing for baad, baad, baad led by a shameless shepherdess whose only interest in the Hollywood flock in the first place is their ability to secure yet another headline for Huffington.
Huffingtons plan for a Hollywood blog was first outed by Business 2.0. But a furor wasnt created until the New York Observer issued an asterisk- and exclamation-pointstudded online exclusive that Warren Beatty would likely join. Beatty himself only said Probably, yet the Observer took that and ran with it because the papers editor, Peter Kaplan, became buddy-buddy with the actor after Kaplan wrote a bylined cover story fawn-a-thon to Beatty before the release of his 1998 box-office dud Bulworth. Yet, now that the blog is online, has-been Beatty is a no-show, probably because he hasnt been able to utter a declarative sentence in this lifetime.
Huffington herself was telling media that she would not have anything to say on the record about her venture until it went online May 9. But she made an exception for The New York Times. That surprisingly uncritical article was the end-all-and-be-all for Arianna, given that she and her clique of gadfly cronies live and die for NYT coverage. Then she made even more exceptions for every mainstream newspaper and magazine.
Again and again, Huffington made claims that her blog was not intended to compete with the Drudge Report, which already blanket-covers the mediapolitic terrain. (Full disclosure: I am one of the columnists whom Matt Drudge links on the Web site.) Yet several people who saw Huffingtons executive summary of the Huffington Post prospectus tell me that she said her blog was intended as a liberal response to what is widely perceived as the conservative bent of the Drudge Report. When she sent it over and talked to me about it, she said again and again that she hopes it will be a place they go to like they go to Drudge: breaking news, information ahead of the curve, the effect like Drudge does of getting stories broken, one Hollywood player tells me.
On the financial side of the summary, Huffington stressed the profit potential of her venture. And Im told that, in conversations with those she fingered as potential investors, she spoke of her ambition to raise $5 million to underwrite her new company, which she amusingly likened to getting in on the ground floor of AOL pre-merger. Of course, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, everyone knows that AOL pre-merger was a house of cards whose stock value was artificially inflated by the Internet bubble. People who invested in AOL lost their shirt after the bubble burst. Given Ariannas pitch, its all the more amusing that her start-up investor turned out to be none other than the former executive vice president for communications at AOL Time Warner, Ken Lerer.
Though press reports have made it seem as if PRmeister Ken Lerer was more or less solely funding Huffingtons blog, Ive learned that she was hoping that Hollywood would initially invest at least $500,000 in $100,000 increments. She framed it to them as an opportunity to invest, to share in something were launching, to be with friends, one source told me. My sense was she knew that the people wouldnt evaluate it as they would a real business deal, like an investment in stock or real estate, but as a friend to help her. If theyre looking to just make money, there are smarter places.
Huffington approached five major players to ante up. Yet, she did not go to some of the usual Los Angeles liberal suspects for money. Not Spielberg. Not Streisand. Not Saban. Not Bing. Not Burkle. Not the Resnicks (the Franklin Mint people). Instead, Huffington asked DreamWorks SKG partner David Geffen, All in the Family producer Norman Lear, Endeavor Agency partner Ari Emanuel, Pulp Fiction producer Laurence Bender and Seinfeld co-creator Larry Davids wife, Laurie.
All have well-known liberal credentials. Geffen was one of the single largest political donors to Democrats during the Clinton years. Lear is the founding funder for the liberal think tank People for the American Way. Emanuels brother Rahm is a two-term Democratic congressman from Illinois and a former top Clinton adviser. Bender, a generous supporter of liberal political causes, lately has been outspoken about Israel. And David is an environmental activist best known for her ongoing anti-SUV campaign.
Sources tell me that, of the five, only Bender and David expressed real interest, and, lo and behold, Laurie David shows up on the home page butt-cheek-to-butt-cheek (though beneath) all the blogging celebs, journalists and Dubya speechwriters. Emanuel wanted no involvement, period. Lear didnt put any money into it, his spokeswoman told me. If hes got something to say, he might participate, but hes got no plans right now. But Huffington almost sabotaged her still relatively recent friendship with Geffen over it.
The reality is that she is running around with a lot of names not only in terms of bloggers and so-called investors. And a lot of it is a little bit of a shell game, a source told me pre-launch. You know the standard game. You call someone and say, Ive got X committed for X amount of money. Thats what she did with David. He was not aware that shes using his name as an investor. Im told that, once Geffen was alerted, his people had to speak to Huffington and straighten it out.
But not only is Geffen not an investor, hes not even a blogger. I asked him, Are you going to be doing a blog for Ariannas thing? and he said no, a source informed me. At the time, Geffen didnt want to attract attention to himself by going public with his denial, Im told. Besides, a source close to Geffen said to me, He sends me two-word e-mails. Hes not going to write a blog for her or anyone.
I thought she was finished when she lost to Gary Coleman in the California Governor's race.
This is too sweeeeet!!
What's the URL for her blog?
Gee, what a lot of crap this writer pays attention to.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Why I Support John Bolton
I know this may not sound politically correct, but as someone who has abused and tormented employees and underlings for years, I am dismayed by all of this yammering directed at John Bolton. Let's face it, the people who are screaming the loudest at Bolton have never been a boss and have no idea what its like to deal with nitwits as dumb as themselves all day long. Why, even this morning my moronic assistant handed me a cup of coffee with way too much milk in it. I was incensed. ...
Your career can't be over if you don't have one, and as far as I can see, Zsa Zsa Gaboring doesn't actually have a job.
I agree,but imagine going through life as Nikki Finke.
I can still see her chasing Arnie on the day he announced.
What Would Jesus Do... With Tom DeLay?
If DeLay and his pious pals had been around for the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps the most famous line about humility ever spoken would have been given a rewrite:
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth unless the pushy hire Jack Abramoff at 750 shekels an hour; then the meek (and the Indians) are screwed."
Luckily, Jesus was able to stick to the original script.
Wow. How can Arianna not succeed with brilliance like that promised several times a day. I just have to visit every day just to revel in the banality of it all.
Wow. That has to be the most (how do I say this politely?) "Donkey ripping" column I have ever read. I LIKE it! Even if it wasn't about Zsa Zsa, I'd hate to be the person on the receiving end of this columnist. 8-)
Now that is an ouch...
who is ariana?
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