Recently, AOL posted an item on its general page discussing how men often fake sexual excitement and advising that they should, uh, take it upon themselves to “discover what stimulates you.” Who knew there was so much fakery in the bedroom?
The fact that AOL would even run a lewd story like this - never mind give it top billing - reveals the change in editorial content since its merger with the far-left Huffington Post. The liberal website, founded by Arianna Huffington, was acquired by AOL in February for a stunning $315 million. Moreover, the deal made Ms. Huffington editor-in-chief of AOL’s 1,200-member newsroom. AOL’s stories are starting to reflect her radical views - undermining its credibility as a respectable Internet news source.
This is what now passes for informative news at AOL? Under Ms. Huffington’s leadership, the popular website has become a pimp for the sexual revolution. It is peddling the Playboy philosophy, hoping to make it mainstream. Perversion and moral indecency are packaged as part of a “healthy lifestyle.” What’s next: the benefits of polygamy or bestiality?
For years, the Huffington Post has championed sexual permissiveness and social liberalism - gay rights, bisexuality, abortion, pornography and euthanasia. It gives a forum not only to rabid progressives, but to vulgar - and ignorant - left-wing Hollywood celebrities. Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and John Cusack have written blogs littered with profanity and obscenities.
In short, Ms. Huffington is coarsening American culture and is engaged in an all-out assault on traditional morality and civilized standards. She is a transnational progressive who espouses economic collect- ivism and moral anarchy. She also is a shameless opportunist. Her columns and blogs are vehicles for self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. During much of the 1990s, she strongly backed then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Ms. Huffington was a fire-breathing conservative Republican. Yet when the tides turned against the GOP, so did the Greek-American pundit. Ms. Huffington was transformed, almost overnight, into a liberal Democrat. This was the ticket to social acceptance and media fame, especially among the Hollywood glitterati.
Ms. Huffington’s call for pacifism and social democracy, however, masks her resentful politics. Her worldview can be distilled into one idea: hatred - the hatred of capitalism, America and Judeo-Christian values. Many Huffington Post contributors live in the fever swamps of the left, spouting ideological bile.
The Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin once wrote that he wished prominent conservative hunters, such as Sarah Palin, would get “shot in the face.”
Mr. Baldwin claimed that then-Vice President Dick Cheney was the equivalent of Osama bin Laden: a murderous butcher. “Cheney is a terrorist,” the actor wrote. “He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately.”
Mr. Cusack accused the George W. Bush administration of erecting a corporate-fascist regime akin to Hitler’s Germany. “We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world - a nation of bullies … who would rather kill than live peacefully,” he said. “We are not just Whores [sic] for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts.”
This is not serious, substantive commentary. It is a form of journalistic pornography, the deliberate degradation of public discourse and political opponents. To compare Mr. Bush’s America to Nazi Germany is more than simply ignorant. It is historically obscene: Hitler’s death machine nearly exterminated the Jews, conquered most of Europe, oversaw a brutal police state and was responsible for the deaths of nearly 50 million people. For all of his flaws, Mr. Bush was the anti-Hitler: a democratic leader who sought to defend the West from Islamic fascism.
Ms. Huffington embraced the virulent hatred of Mr. Bush. Like many on the hard left, she took to demonizing the Texan cowboy like an alcoholic to whiskey: it may be bad, but it’s irresistible. She even indulged in dark, ugly fantasies about murdering him. Ms. Huffington played a role in a science-fiction movie whose two heroes seek to cleanse the world of evil by assassinating then-President Bush while on a trip to Iraq.
She has taken up a new cause: supporting the rioters in Greece, protesting the Greek government’s austerity measures. For Ms. Huffington, the street violence is really a manifestation of people power - direct democracy in action. However, despite her populist sympathies, she brags about how she gorged on seafood and fresh fruit with the Greek prime minister at a swanky Athens restaurant. She may stand with the downtrodden peasants, but she parties with the corrupt elites.
Ms. Huffington is a typical Hollywood hypocrite: She professes to care about the underprivileged but lives as a pampered jet-setter. The more extravagant her lifestyle, the more her limousine liberalism panders to radical secularists and anarcho-socialists. She is a spoiled dilettante posing as an armchair revolutionary.
She is frittering away the hard-won reputation of AOL and dragging it into the journalistic gutter.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.