Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is The Huffington Post The Go To Spot For Hollywood To Answer Political Concerns?

Last night A-List Hollywood director Ron Howard was on Charlie Rose discussing Angels and Demons. The films stars Tom Hanks and the beautiful Ayelet Zurer were also there. The conversation lingered briefly on the Catholic League and their quixotic protest against the Robert Langdon films by Dan Brown.

Ron Howard's response to a question about his April 22nd Huffington Post response was interesting. "Oh, I don't know," he told Charlie Rose, "that's where the studio suggested we put it up." What is interested about this is that The Huffington Post -- as opposed to, say, The New York Times or The Washington Post or even the LA Times Op-Ed pages -- was where the studios suggested Ron Howard fire his rebuttal. That suggests, at the very least, a realization of Hollywood power of the declining influence of the daily newspaper in our public conversation. And that is more than a little sad.

Is Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post the go-to spot for Hollywood to respond to political concerns? And if so, would that not be an extraordinary media accomplishment for a a five year old website. It might even -- but not quite really -- justify why someone might pay $13,000 for an internship (US News headline: "Huffington Post Offers Paid Internship: The Intern Pays"). With her golden Rolodex, Huffington, the unofficial "Mayor of L.A.," plays hostess on her site to celebrity pals who want to dip their toes into the political waters. Over the years the site has featured much-talked-about posts like Alec Baldwin on Journalism and Ari Emmanuel on judging Mel Gibson. In both cases, HuffPo allowed both men to Op-Edify at length in a hot forum. Perhaps that -- and the eyeballs it attracts -- are the great advantages that the huffington Post has over declining print publications.

Huffington, we cannot fail to note, started the week off arguing about the future of journalism in an Op-Ed in The Guardian.

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