The post-Christmas headline reads: “THE MOLOTOV PARTY,” and it’s not talking about a fiery New Year’s Eve bash. Naturally, it refers to the GOP and accompanies a photo of the top candidates, with every single letter of the headline capitalized for emphasis. Within a few hours, it morphs into “THEY ♥ MANDATES,” an attack this time on Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
Political junkies would recognize that level of anti-Republican vitriol and readily identify the perpetrator – Huffington Post. HuffPo, as it is sometimes called, has evolved from a simple news aggregator into one of the most sophisticated propaganda operations the world has ever seen.
The site was started by political chameleon Arianna Huffington, who used to be conservative before she discovered it was far more lucrative to be liberal. The zeros that entrepreneur Huffington paid bloggers for their content came back to her as $20 million to $30 million or more, along with $4 million a year. That was part of the $315 million sale to AOL that turned Huffington into a media mogul and the most powerful propagandist since a guy named Goebbels.
Internet denizens might say that last comment violated Godwin’s Law, as Third Reich references often do. And it would, except it’s true. Huffington heads up a “news” team whose two aims are to drive traffic and to drive conservatives and the GOP into the ground. The HuffPo team is good at both.
Everywhere you look on the site, Republicans and conservatives are doing something bad. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has a “harsh plan.” Former “Saturday Night Live” star Victoria Jackson is now making “wild Islamophobic claims.” Even so-called “star” actor Benjamin Walker (appearing as Lincoln in the upcoming “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) gets covered for sending out an anti-GOP Christmas card. Actor Steven Weber sums up this attitude with a call for trials for conservatives. “The scale of Right Wing sociopolitical sabotage necessitates a Nuremberg-scale trial,” he wrote, frothing all the way.
The GOP presidential candidates are particular targets. There’s a “Perry shocker.” Or, is Iowa “Bachmann’s Last Stand?” What was the Perry shocker? Who knows? The headline just goes to the HuffPo politics page which is so filled with anti-GOP material that it’s hard to differentiate.
And there are no depths to which the HuffPo team won’t delve. One story even went into the bathroom to stalk libertarian Rep. Ron Paul and accuse him of being a homophobe (the ultimate crime in lefty “journalism.”) “Ron Paul Reportedly Refused To Use Gay Man's Bathroom,” it read. If a GOP candidate hung a roll of toilet paper the wrong way, a Huffington Post “reporter” would come crawling through the gutter to write about it.
The Politics section is a prime example. It holds more than 60 headlines, nearly all of which attack the GOP in some way. “OOPS: The Biggest Gaffes Of 2011 has three GOP photos attached – Sarah Palin, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned Congress in disgrace for, well, you know, is nowhere to be found.
In fact, not one of the headlines says anything bad about a Democrat whatsoever. The few stories that mention Democrats at all are such puff pieces that most journalists would be embarrassed to be associated with them. One shows a baby putting his hand in Obama’s mouth: “Obama Gets A Mouthful,” readers are told in this thoroughly silly story. Another goes: “Bill Clinton Makes Bold Pledge,” and is coupled with a smiling picture of the former president.
To read the site is to think the Republican Party is the most incompetent, corrupt operation in history, which is exactly what Huffington is paid to make you think. The rare times Democratic scandals can’t be avoided, the word “Democrat” is avoided, at least in the headline.
MF Global, a Democratic scandal involving former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has this innocuous headline: “MF Global Fallout Fueling Calls For Drastic Reform.” Notice the lack of name or party? Yeah, so did HuffPo. Some little Dem bot probably got a bonus for that bit of fraud. Only the occasional DINO gets negative HuffPo attention, such as Sen. Ben Nelson who was called a “human impediment to progress” when he said he was retiring.
The site’s masthead lists more than 300 people, 30 of those in the Politics section. In reality, the other 270 are in the politics section whenever possible. That doesn’t come close to counting the purported 20,000 bloggers. The site itself now has special departments devoted to eight different cities in the United States – from New York to Los Angeles. Huffington Post has expanded internationally with sister operations in Canada and the UK, with France and Spain on deck. But politics is the center ring, whether it’s in D.C. or London.
Couple that with specialty sections for every liberal target group you can imagine – African-Americans, Latinos and gays, for starters. When the site isn’t blatantly propagandizing against the GOP, it is putting forth claims of struggle for some left-wing concern. On any given day at HuffPo you can find attacks on religion, life, patriotism and pretty much any traditional value held by Americans.
Of course, they don’t write it all themselves. The HuffPo staff is masterful at combing the internet for stories and digging through them for one nugget that makes their point. They write a couple graphs about the nugget, package it with a sometimes huge headline and a stock photo and, voila, their work is done. All of that teams with AOL and numerous other related properties including the once-promising local news operation Patch.com.
But the site doesn’t work if it doesn’t generate traffic. After all, Americans aren’t forced to read Arianna’s propaganda. So it’s filled with sex, more sex, comedy and enough other trash to keep people visiting. (The masthead actually includes four separate comedy editors. Perhaps they are the ones doing the front page.) The Internet term for much of it is “link bait.”
One page holds several pictures of a breasty Katy Perry picture in a bikini, another an article on sexbots and how eventually marriage to them will be allowed. And there’s always lots of alternative lifestyle fun, like the “23 Naughtiest Lesbian Scandals of 2011.” Want comedy? Try a quick video of a dog wearing pants. Just be sure to follow it to one of HuffPo’s lefty bloggers or another video of a “Little Girl Furious Of Gender Stereotypes In Toy Store.” If technology allowed for carnival barkers to grab you as you went by in cyberspace, Arianna would do it.
Add it all up and Huffington Post is the most popular and up-to-date propaganda tool around. It’s light years ahead of the pro-war posters of WWI or Tokyo Rose of WWII and puts communist state propaganda to shame. Soviet propagandists used to delete people from photos to make them disappear. HuffPo controls the message and just never includes anything bad they did in the first place – unless they’re Republicans.
Add it all up and it’s working. In June, HuffPo outdid The New York Times for web traffic, according to comScore. But, more importantly, the site is popular with political reporters. Every day it sets the anti-GOP agenda among the already anti-GOP press. It’s also unmatched on the right. Every step of election 2012 is being spun and Queen Bee Arianna Huffington is one of the most powerful figures deciding who gets to be your president. Only Huffington Post claims it’s “journalism.”
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.