This is the fifth and final interview in our impromptu “Fishbowl Final” series.
On May 9, 2005, The Huffington Post whooshed into being, captained by the ever-energetic and, it seemed then, highly optimistic Arianna Huffington. A lot can change in nine months — in nine months, you can break news, collect an impressive array of pundits, generate incisive commentary, flog under-represented stories, relentlessly scrutinize people on TV, and go double that for the New York Times.
The Huffington Post did all that and more, collecting a truly mindblowing list of contributors along the way like a rolling stone gathering very smart moss, and now boasts a revolving roster of talent from Tina Brown and Harry Evans, Nora Ephron, Walter Cronkite, Larry and Laurie David, Rob Reiner, John Cusack, Lizz Winstead, Cindy Sheehan, Deepak Chopra (for your chakra), Jonathan Alter, Eric Alterman, Eve Ensler, wait-weren’t-you-supposed-to-be-Canadian-by-now Alec Baldwin, Rep. Russ Feingold, and FishbowlDC’s own Patrick Gavin. That is SO not an exhaustive list.
At the head of it all is Arianna, leading the charge by being prolific and proactive, posting on all manner of hot-button issues while goading her charges on to further heights of bloggery (if you don’t believe me go check out her list of blog posts that’s as long as your arm, if you had a really long arm). Together with partner Kenneth Lerer, so far she’s managed to needle Tim Russert incessantly, challenge the NYT over Judy Miller (also incessantly), and champion creativity on the internet with HuffPo’s “Contagious Festival,” inspired by the socially-conscious successes of HuffPal Jonah Peretti. Also, she actually didn’t fire Gutfeld. That alone bespeaks guts.
We had the opportunity to have a proper sit-down with Arianna in November at her party in LA, and she kindly answered a few follow-up questions more recently in between bouts of multi-tasking (“I’ll try to get to as many of all these excellent questions as possible as soon as I’m back from carpool and do a refresh of my blog”). Politicians, pundits, boom-box hoisting movie stars — all that and more await in the paragraphs below. Ta leme sto Blog!