What is a birthday without being reminded of what you were like when you were first born, according to some of your peevish relatives (the ones who always knew you’d amount to nothing)?
And so, below, some (very) early media reactions to the birth of The Huffington Post. Or, the Top 5 UNENTHUSIASTIC HuffPo Reviews of 2005 (NO PHOTOS).
1. Nikki Finke, LA Weekly, May 12, 2005, “Celebs to the Slaughter: Why Arianna’s Blog Blows.”
Judging from Monday’s horrific debut of the humongously pre-hyped celebrity blog the Huffington Post, the Madonna of the mediapolitic world has undergone one reinvention too many. She has now made an online ass of herself. What her bizarre guru-cult association, 180-degree right-to-left conversion, and failed run in the California gubernatorial-recall race couldn’t accomplish, her blog has now done: She is finally played out publicly. This website venture is the sort of failure that is simply unsurvivable. Her blog is such a bomb that it’s the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven’s Gate rolled into one. In magazine terms, it’s the disastrous clone of Tina Brown’s Talk, JFK Jr.’s George or Maer Roshan’s .
No matter what happens to Huffington, it’s clear Hollywood will suffer the consequences. It seems like some sick hoax…
“The Internet Newspaper” has its charms, but “Making an online ass of herself…” since 2005 might also look striking under the green Huffington Post logo.
2. Ned Rice, National Review Online, May 25, 2005, “The Drudgery Report”
Arianna pitched this latest elaborate ploy to write off her cocktail parties as a business expense in terms of it being a “group blog,” which is another way of calling it a personal journal-by-committee with all the charm, originality and integrity that that implies. Others describe it as a virtual think tank, although judging from what “The Huffington Post” has trotted out so far it feels mostly like a groupthink tank.
… I’m predicting it’ll be at least as successful as Arianna’s last campaign for governor and you can quote me on that.
3. Cal Thomas, Tribune Media Services, May 13, 2005, “The Blog That Ate Real Journalism”
The Huffington Post, an Internet blog that debuted May 9 after a campaign that would have delighted P.T. Barnum, makes me nostalgic for the good old days of journalism.
It isn’t that its founder, Arianna Huffington…doesn’t have every right to join the increasingly clogged blog superhighway…
The problem with blogs such as The Huffington Post is that they divert our attention from real and serious journalism…
With blogs, we do not know if what we read is true. For most blogs, no editor checks for factual errors and no one is restrained from editorializing… Blogs have no checks and balances.
I suspect - and hope - that once the bloom is off the blogs, serious people (and they seem to be an endangered species) might still crave real journalism and be able to remember what it looked and sounded like.
The problem with blogs such as Cal Thomas’s is that they consist of the authors’ (presumably factual-error-free) syndicated newspaper columns re-configured to look sort of blog post-ish.
4. Bill Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 15, 2005, “Huffing & puffing & disappointing”
From the advance hype, you’d have thought that the multiblog site, which debuted Monday, was going to do for the blogosphere what CNN did for TV news. It won’t.
It’s way too early to declare it a flop. But it’s easy to see why the media criticism has run from brutally cruel to “Could this possibly be this dull and uninformative forever?”
Among the “most popular on HuffPost” (as of this writing):
5. Tim Dowling, The [UK] Guardian, April 27, 2005, “With friends like these: US socialite and journalist Arianna Huffington is to launch a super blog featuring contributions by a host of her celebrity chums, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Norman Mailer. Tim Dowling got a preview”
This is so blogciting, posted by Tina Brown on Mon May 9 at 11:04 PDT Today we are entering a new paradigm: the energy and passion that I see on this mega-blog will ensure that it becomes not just the premiere electro-salon of the liberal elite, but the soul-search engine for the entire Alter-net. In today’s fast-moving, cross-pollinating media perfect storm we don’t always want considered essays or spelled-out arguments. Sometimes we just want to say “Bush sucks”. Although his wife is really sweet.
Actually, Tina Brown’s inaugural Huffington post was not a musing on The Significance of Arianna’s Hot New Project, but…all about what Tina Brown learned doing her then-recently-cancelled CNBC talk show, Topic A.Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.