Huffingtonians Get All Huffy

by | May 10, 2005

Traditional media star, Arianna Huffington, has opened a can of whoop ass on traditional media (and Matt Drudge). Her group blog, which debuted yesterday, has entries from Walter Cronkite, Larry David, Rob Reiner, Senator Jon Corzine, Tina Brown, Bill Maher, Gary Hart, Jerry Brown and several others.

According to the Washington Post, Warren Beatty says the venture “holds out the possibility that the horrifying danger of media consolidation may be ameliorated.” He says Huffington will provide a forum “not owned by the New York Times, News Corp., General Electric, Disney, Viacom, The Washington Post, Tribune Media, Knight Ridder, Gannett and the like” and that smart writers “will have no fear of being edited or fired for views that might go against the interests of the publisher.”

One post I particularly enjoyed came from former California Governor and current Oakland Mayor, Jerry Brown.

Scanning the TV news tonight, I was struck again by the massive and incoherent stimuli transmitted to American minds in the guise of national news. Is it a post-modern nightmare or Dante’s Inferno?

The rapid shift from one image or story to another–now comic, now trivial, now tragic–undermines one’s critical faculties. Drug and car ads compete with murders in Iraq and a “nuclear option” for the Senate.

The common sense questions–such as, why our government is borrowing madly, tempting nature, engineering foreign nations, cutting taxes for some while increasing financial burdens for others–get lost in the psychic distractions of a perverse media acupuncture of the mind.

The public forum is overloaded with “junk” news, science and politics.

Long ago, America’s founders assumed an educated electorate and the deliberative discussions and reflections that a slower age invited. Then it was an Age of the Book. Now it is the Age of the Screen and its attendant attention deficit.

Not bad for an opening salvo.