Huffington sticks it to the NYT

Arianna Huffington speaking at the 2008 Interactive Media Conference in Las Vegas, May 15. (John Wilpers photo)

How many bloggers would brag that their standards surpass the New York Times?

Arianna Huffington would, and she did.

When asked about the HuffPost’s accuracy standards Thursday, she outlined her 24-hour correct-it-or-lose-your-rights deadline. Then, without skipping a beat, she compared her one-day correction turn-around requirement to the NYT which “took years to issue a mea culpa” for the “lies and distortions” about the lead-up to the Iraq war that it printed on the front page.

Ouch. (Watch below.)

She added that when someone points out an error to her, “the transparency of error corrections means I don’t just go in and correct it in the post, but I also say that I made an error.”

Accuracy isn’t the only thing that Huffington likes about bloggers. Which she likes a lot.

She told the Interactive Media conference in Las Vegas that her blog and others like it are a “court of appeals.” Crediting NYU professor and PressThink blogger Jay Rosen with the term, Huffington said that when mainstream media drop a hot story, the blogosphere can bring it back to the public’s attention.

Huffington also said the quality of the press coverage of the campaign (a smile) caused her to start a project called “Off the Bus” (a twist on Tim Crouse’s book about the press coverage of the 1972 campaign, “Boys on the Bus”).

“We now have 2,000 people from around the country” reporting on the campaign, she said. Mayhill Fowler, the blogger who broke the story about Barack Obama’s “bitter” comments was one of Huffington’s “Off the Bus” cadre (a fact, Huffington noted with a scoff, was never mentioned in the media storm that followed).

She attributed some of her success to “the disgust of the public with the way the mainstream media has done its job.”

Despite her digs, Huffington thinks enough of newspapers to say “I don’t believe for a moment that print is dead. I don’t believe it’s an either/or situation (either print or online), either. Provided newspapers continue efforts toward a full online operations, they have a great future.”

As a matter of fact, Huffinton admitted that “our home page is more like the front page of a newspaper. Entertainment, business, politics — all on home page. And we have plans for the future expanding into new verticals, including sports, and we’re expanding our reporting team.”


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