The New Yorker published its profile of Arianna Huffington. Though disappointingly far from the juicy takedown we hoped for, it does contain a few interesting nuggets. We learn, for example, that the Republican-divorcée-turned-internet-publisher bizarrely "hides" all three of her BlackBerrys in her bathroom at night, even though she lives only with a housekeeper and her two daughters. Her gay ex-husband Michael Huffington elaborates on how she knew of his interest in men before their marriage, saying, "in my Houston town house I sat down with her and told her that I had dated women and men so that she would be aware of it." And Huffington sounds downright proud of her lack of long-term friendships, saying, "I metabolize experiences fast." But there's so much missing, so much that should be in this 14-page story, starting first with how she runs the Huffington Post — would any male mogul be profiled at such length with so little said about how he runs his business? — and continuing through to juicer questions about her dating life and cultlike religious guru. A few specifics:
A New Yorker journalist is calling around for a story on the "Real Arianna Huffington," the Post reported. The scribe is supposedly asking about the allegedly ballooning value of the Huffington Post, recently pegged at $200 million, and about whether publisher Huffington is a "cutthroat boss." Perhaps the New Yorker writer — former New York Post man Ken Auletta? — should ring up HuffPo senior editor Rachel Sklar, who just last night aired news that Huffington spiked her story about MSNBC because she wants to tightly control how politics is discussed on her site. From Sklar's message on Jim Romenesko's Poynter.org forum:
Wow, media baroness Arianna Huffington really knows how to lay on the cloak and dagger stuff. You'll recall how the recent death of NBC newsman Tim Russert, followed by the Huffington Post publisher saying very little about him, reminded everyone that Russert and Huffington had a big, 15-year feud involving a scandalous takedown of Huffington written for Vanity Fair by Russert's wife. Everyone was also reminded of allegations by Republican strategist Ed Rollins (denied by Huffington) that she once hired a private investigator to tail Russert's wife and also once launched a surveillance team of close to 12 "security operatives" to find the illegal nanny of her husband's opponent in his senate campaign. Well, now Huffington's given a wide-ranging interview to the Chicago Tribune titled "Snoop Patrol" that only makes her sound like even more of a shadow lurker.
It's a tangled web. Liberal-ish MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews hates liberal convert blog-runner Arianna Huffington because of a feud between Huffington and center-liberal deceased NBC journalist Tim Russert, whom Matthews idolized (and who never cared for Matthews). Why? Where did this all begin? It all started with a terribly nasty Vanity Fair piece written back in 1994 by Maureen Orth, Tim Russert's wife. The piece is about Michael Huffington, who almost bought himself a seat in the US Senate back when he was married to Arianna. This story helped end his political dreams, won Orth an award or two, and caused bad blood that lasted up until the day Tim died. And we have awesome clips from it!
So. As we noted this morning, blog mistress Arianna Huffington didn't weigh in on the unexpected death of departed Meet the Press host Tim Russert until well after everyone else, and once she did, she didn't have much to say. Because of the old axiom about how much one should say when one doesn't have anything nice to say. (HuffPo's regular feature "Russert Watch" has gone blank—technical glitch
or archive-scrubbing?) As anyone who's read Arianna's media writing over the last couple years knows, she never liked Tim. And we only just recently wandered into the fray, when we learned that Russert's unappreciated lapdog Chris Matthews hated Huffington for her years spent bashing his idol. And why did she hate Tim? This book excerpt might explain it all!