My Poynter: Is ‘The Huffington Post’ Still Cool?

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by Connor Foote

Lotus Land Correspondent, White Cover Magazine

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It’s begun. After an existence almost only strengthened by its position on the fringe, The Huffington Post has gone mainstream. It’s not a conscious decision. There is no press conference to announce the transition. These things just happen to everything that was once rare and buoyed by fan clubs. Take Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Menchies yogourt, Apple products (seriously, remember when Microsoft was boring?), The Soup starring Joel McHale, and even Atheism.

(Seriously, Bill Maher has to now declare that Atheism is not a religion just to remind people about the very definition of the word itself.)

Things just start out as an alternative and then — before long — they the become the establishment. The Red Sox eventually become the YankeesThe Huffington Post becomes MSNBC.

Fortunately, the Post ascension to the top has been due to their own editorial superiority. They’ve consistently been the first to print what their readers want to hear and they haven’t been afraid to toy with your emotions or your beliefs. At least, that’s how it used to be.

As a part of AOL’s expanding online empire, the HuffPo has changed its tune a little. You can tell the talent still wants to deny to existence of God or the moral superiority of the Republican Party, but you know the company’s New York law firm is warning them against using the wrong predicate or adjective.

Eventually, when you become the biggest newspaper in the world (which the HuffPo is), you get sued. Your words have real consequences for the ones you insult, and you’re big enough to take down. Or, at the very least, collect some libel money from.

Unfortunately, for the Po, the transition to mainstream-ism hasn’t always been that smooth.

While most articles on the Post‘s front page are pretty status quo (most are actually re-published from the Associated or Canadian Press), many of their lifestyle or gossip columns are labeled with catty, childish headlines like “Angelina Jolie’s Daughter Got Paid HOW MUCH For Her First Role?

(*NOTE to the HuffPo: Even L.A. Valley Girls thought that was too far.)

It’s almost like the Po is now trying to compensate for its newfound status as the media elite. They don’t want to lose the fan base that made them what they are, but they also have to eventually jump forward and admit that, “Yes, even as a liberal institution, we would love to make some real money now.”

The Huffington Post has even been used in movie trailers now. Their words have become those images of floating praise we normally see stolen from the New York Times and Rolling Stone. Instead, studios know their readers are trusting the HuffPo more than those other ancient sources of information.

Does this make them cool, or does it just make them one of the princes they used to dream of toppling?

(*I’m sure Peter Travers and A.O. Scott were once cool, too.)

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Huffington Post Espana - Front Page - February 12 2013
Huffington Post Espana – Front Page – February 12, 2013
Huffington Post UK - Front Page - February 12 2013
Huffington Post UK – Front Page – February 12, 2013
Huffington Post Italy - Front Page - February 12 2013
Huffington Post Italy – Front Page – February 12, 2013
Huffington Post France - Front Page - February 12 2013
Huffington Post France – Front Page – February 12, 2013
Huffington Post United States - Front Page - February 12 2013
Huffington Post United States – Front Page – February 12, 2013
Huffington Post Canada - Front Page - February 12 2013
Huffington Post Canada – Front Page – February 12, 2013