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: Why write this book now?
Arianna Huffington: I decided to write the book right now as a kind of handbook for the ’08 election. I wanted to look at what the Right had done to this country over the last almost eight years. And then, why? Why did we allow the Right to hijack our democracy and dominate the debate? Because I feel when we understand why, we are going to find it much easier to clean the mess, not let it happen again, and above all, make sure that John McCain is not the winner in November, ’08. So that’s why I’ve included an entire chapter on John McCain, where I describe how he has been hijacked by the Right.
Question: How did the media shift so far to the right?
Arianna Huffington: Well, that’s, I think, the key point I wanted to make in the book in terms of the culpability of the media — how they became enablers. And so my first two chapters are about the media. The first chapter is called Equal Time For Lies, because I think one of the problems has been the way the media like to present every issue as though it has two sides, even when the truth is solidly on one side or the other. And, as a result, it’s been very confusing for the American public, because the Right doesn’t need to win the argument. It just needs to make people doubt what the truth is. And we’ve seen that again and again. We’ve seen it on global warming. We’ve seen Al Gore on the one hand talking about the dangers of global warming, and Senator James Inhofe, on the other hand, talking about how global warming is a fraud. We’ve seen that again and again on Iraq, when the truth is absolutely clear that Iraq has been a catastrophe for the United States, but in fact, the media and many of our leaders continue to present it as either we’re winning there, or it’s a mixed bag.
Recorded on: March 9 2008