Huffington Post_ is an Internet webzine featuring mostly left-liberal participants. It was launched as a commercial venture on May 9, 2005. The publication takes its name from its creator Arianna Huffington, a “progressive independent” syndicated columnist, author, and media personality.
In designing Huffington Post, Huffington hired Matt Drudge’s “right-hand web whiz, Andrew Breitbart” to help her prepare her website for launch. Little-known to the left-liberals whom she attempted to recruit as investors and bloggers, Breitbart was co-author of the 2004 book Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon — The Case Against Celebrity. “People would have gone crazy here [in Hollywood],” one of Huffington’s friends told the L.A. Weekly, had they known that the person running The Huffington Post website “was the guy who wrote that awful book.”
Huffington initially “approached five major players” to invest in Huffington Post, wrote L.A. Weekly reporter Nikki Finke in May 2005. Among them were Pulp Fiction producer Lawrence Bender, and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David’s wife, Laurie [David]. “… Sources tell me that of the five, only Bender and David expressed real interest, and lo and behold, Laurie David shows up on the [Huffington Post] home page.”
Among the “bloggers” who Huffington initially said had volunteered to write pieces were actors Warren Beatty, John Cusack, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Diane Keaton, and Gwyneth Paltrow; cable channel mogul Barry Diller; Clinton White House attorney Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.; creator-writer-producer Aaron Sorkin; former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite; former Colorado Senator Gary Hart; former Huffington beau Mort Zuckerman; former New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine; music mogul David Geffen; Playboy Magazine chief executive Christie Hefner; playwright David Mamet; and West Wing writers Nora Ephron and Norman Mailer.
Nora Ephron told the New York Times that she sees Huffington Post “as a chance for the left to balance out the right.” Initially Huffington insisted that conservatives would be welcome. A handful—Tony Blankley, former President George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, and film critic and radio talk host Michael Medved—did contribute occasionally at the beginning. But within a few weeks after Huffington Post‘s launch, however, writings by these few conservative authors became scarce.
Among Huffington Post‘s notable repeat bylines are those of Newsweek writer Jonathan Alter; The Nation media critic Eric Alterman; Marc Cooper of The Nation Institute; former Democratic Assemblyman and State Senator Tom Hayden; environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; longtime Sierra Club President Carl Pope; slavery reparations advocate and TransAfrica leader Randall Robinson; LewRockwell.com founder Lew Rockwell; Institute for Public Accuracy founder Norman Solomon; and Service Employees International Union President Andrew Stern.
Several members of Congress have written pieces for Huffington Post. These include Representatives John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan, who is a repeat contributor, Jim McDermott of Washington State, George Miller of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and John Tierney of Massachusetts. All are Democrats and members of the socialist-oriented Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives.
Control of the day-to-day operation of Huffington Post is in the hands of seven paid staffers in New York City under the direction of Huffington’s business partner in this venture, Ken Lerer, a former Executive Vice President with AOL Time Warner.
Huffington Post does not pay its writers. What they write, however, is sold for profit to newspapers by the Chicago Tribune‘s Tribune Media Services, which also syndicates Huffington’s column.
On February 6, 2011, Arianna Huffington announced that she had sold the Huffington Post to AmericaOnline for $315 million.