Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books. Her newest book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published by Crown in March 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Since launching in 2005, The Huffington Post has become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Huffington has been named to Time Magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.
She serves on several boards, including HuffPost’s partners in Spain, the newspaper EL PAÍS and its parent company PRISA; Onex; The Center for Public Integrity; and The Committee to Protect Journalists.
Question: How much responsibility lies with the citizen when consuming media?
Arrianna Huffington: The citizen, the consumer, has a responsibility, and they need to be much more vigilant and alert, but at the same time, I don’t really buy this idea that the media are kind of like Pontius Pilate, you know, washing their hands of responsibility, presenting both sides of the argument and letting the viewer or the user make up their minds. I mean, of course, there are many issues when that is the case, but some of the critical issues of our time are beyond that. You know, the media have a responsibility to tell a story of what happened, and to do it when it could still matter. I mean, look at how the way the media, again, missed the big story on deregulation and the impact that deregulation would have on our economy, including the mortgage crisis, the housing crisis, millions of people losing their homes. So, I think the media need to look very closely at the way they’re failing the American people, because that’s their responsibility. That’s our responsibility, and now, with the growth of the online media, I clearly believe that we have the responsibility which you are exercising to hold the mainstream media’s feet to the fire and hold them accountable.
Recorded on: March 9, 2008