I happened to read this morning about The Huffington Post’s name change and site reboot. I was “triggered” by one of the articles that happened to be in the screenshot of the revamp.
It made me realise that I’d drafted a post about the network quite a while ago but never finished it. I’d initially started writing it because it was apparent that a number of my contemporaries were not aware of the history and purpose of Huffpo.
To understand The Huffington Post you have to understand Matt Drudge’s “Drudge Report”. They are the yin and yang of partisan politics and as morally weak as each other. Drudge hit the jackpot by breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal story all those years ago and has capitalised on the tabloid flavour ever since. His method is simple; take complex social and political issues and boil them down into a headline link that would interest a primary school student. His editorial capacity is at about that level too, evidence by the increasing lack of use of the space bar which allows him to conflate identities or concepts like RUSSIACHINA or FACEBOOKTWITTER. The Drudge Report isn’t a tabloid, though, it’s one level below that because he doesn’t generate any of the content himself, just link to it with emotive words or phrases that frame the following article in his worldview. Often he will suggest the article contains content that it doesn’t. It’s a dishonest method and quit insidious given its not always obvious to a critical eye. For a reader that wants to read it that way though, it’s perfect for reinforcing their worldview. Sarah Palin uses it as her primary news source, for example. And any person or site that cites infowars can immediately be disregarded.
Huffpost is a similar echo-chamber with equally unqualified writers. Not quite tabloid in style, it hits more of a cheap lifestyle magazine interspersed with indignation. “Wellness practitioners” write on complex social issues and political philosophy as well as discredited medical practices such as homeopathy. The lack of intellectual and academic rigour characterises the bulk of their content. Which leads me to the post about Michelle Obama’s hair. The title and byline are so packed full of pathetic cliche millennial language that it made me physically blush. I couldn’t help but picture the lead up to the writing of the article which would have involved a number of Eeeerrrmageeeerrrds, hashtags, like totallies, and strings of emojis. The idea would have been totes amazeballs, I’m sure.
Michelle Obama Is Rocking Her Natural Hair And The Internet Can’t Even
Literally the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
If by “The Internet” Taryn Finley means a few hundred people on twitter, then yes. But the rest of us are more interested in what the first African Amican First Lady is doing on the social policy front, or her book, or whatever else she is using her remarkable position for. She’ll be a significant figure in history, but we’re reading about her cosmetic presentation, essentially reinforcing the patriarchal socaial hierarchy that says it’s ok to objectify women. This article neatly highlights the two reasons the site exists – to push an agenda, and to make money through clickbait.
I’m socially liberal. Im a believer in government. But I watch FOX News and read The National Review. I watch Hannity and check on The Weekly Standard a number of times a week. I’ve bought more copies of Quadrant than I have The Atlantic. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage and I’m all for refugees (especially when we bomb the country they’re fleeing from). I have The National Review in my bookmarks.
I’m not a partisan.
And I sometimes try to read articles from The Huffington Post. But these days, I can’t even.