Little mice tell me that Arianna’s Huffington Post (to which I am so far still a theoretical contributor) got something like 8 million hits during its inaugural 24 hour debut. Eight million here, eight million there – soon you’re talking about some real traffic.
A river of blogosphere reviews has also been pouring forward. Among the best and keenest, no surprise, comes from my old pal Jack Shafer at Slate. Shafer prudently says that after a total of one day, the jury is still out and fairness dictates withholding a definitive ruling. Instead, he makes some sharp observations on what sort of obstacles await the Red-Haired Huff:
The essence of conversation is disputation, a quality found in surplus at the best blogs. But none of the alleged bloggers at the Huff Post are really arguing with anybody or reacting to much of anything in the news in their first entries, perhaps because they were asked to pen "evergreens" that could run any time the site launched….
…Do these people intend to engage? Is it even in their wheelhouse to debate? How will the Huff Post's liberal core react when its right-wing press contributors, such as Byron York and Tony Blankley, bring a hard one down on their snout? Hollywood liberals such as Aaron Sorkin and Laurie David rarely encounter sharp political disagreement inside the cocoons of their Hollywood salons, and when they do it's not generally with a practiced rhetorician. Or worse still, what sort of psychic meltdown awaits Huffingliberal Rob Reiner if he finds himself in a vicious intellectual rumble with liberal journalists he regards as fellow travelers, such as my friend David Corn of The Nation?
…Completely outside of Huffington's command and control, of course, are the millions of thugs, opinion artists, and expert witnesses who inhabit the blogosphere, and they aren't giving her site a decent interval before pouncing. Reading the hundreds of blog entries about Huffington's site from today is like watching a swarm of fire ants invade a robin's nest and turn the chicks to red pulp.
Among some of the creepier ants out there is the L.A. Weekly’s Hollywood gutter-raker, Nikki Finke. She belched out a gaseous attack column Monday morning (three days earlier than the Weekly’s hard copy pub date) just in time to be posted on Matt Drudge’s rival site the day of Arianna’s launch (an amazing coincidence, no?). Arianna is certainly fair game, and heaven knows, I have done my own share of celebrity-bashing, but Finke’s piece is really a non-sensical splatter. After the Huffington Post had been in existence for only 10 hours, Finke declared it to have been a “bomb that is the box-office equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven's Gate rolled into one.”
Really, my fellow blogospherians? A bomb that was clocking ten thousands hits per minute?
Finke also slams Huff for falsely promising to produce David Geffen as a blogger while “a source” tells her that Geffen was going to be a no-show (and, like, who cares anyway?).
But, just for the hell of it, what happens, say, if Geffen
shows up bloggin' on the Huffington Post in the next day or two? WWNS? What will Nikke say? And who will care?