November 19, 2010

Arianna Huffington on politics and fear

Arianna Huffington

JD LasicaIcaptured a few nice photos of Arianna Huffington, founder and editor of the Huffington Post, last night at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, where she gave an hourlong talk in conversation with Raj Patel, answered audience questions and then signed copies of her new book, Third World America.

The Huffington Post has had a remarkable trajectory over the past five years. The New York-based online publication started with five staffers and now has 190, and it is on its way to surpassing the New York Times and CNN to become the largest independent news site in the world.

A few snippets from her talk:

• The Huffington Post sees itself not as a liberal publication but as a wide-ranging online newspaper that celebrates any break from groupthink. Those sexy photos in the right sidebar? A way to lure some people toward more serious articles. “We are deliberately and unapologetically high-brow and low-brow. … You don’t have to click on them!”

• Submit nominations for “The Greatest Person of the Day” to [email protected]

• Many high-ranking conservatives oppose the war in Afghanistan, yet the traditional media only mention liberals as opposing it.

• We need to get beyond calcified right and left labels to confront the deep-rooted problems confronting us as a society. Her book doesn’t only describe the urgent issues facing America but offers solutions on how to get past the politics of fear.

• “Bipartisanship is not splitting the difference down the middle, it’s meeting in the places you converge.”

• I didn’t realize the Huffington Post chartered 200 buses to take 10,000 people to the Rally to Restore Sanity. One guy even came up from Washington, DC, to be on the bus to DC. “People wanted to be together for the journey not just the rally. To be in it together to get out of the dark times.”

By the way, I met Arianna at BlogHer back in 2006 and again at Personal Democracy Forum — here are some past photos (she still looks great!).

A podcast of her talk will likely be available early next week on the Commonwealth Club site.