Huffington: 'Obama hasn't lived up to his promises'

March 18, 2010 12:56
3 minute read.
Arianna Huffington 248 courtesy

Arianna Huffington 248 courtesy. (photo credit: )


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US President Barack Obama "has not lived up to some of the promises he made," and when it comes to his views on new media, he was "incredibly naive", co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, told The Jerusalem Post during a visit to Israel.

"The opposition that Obama is facing is coming from many people, including many of us at the Huffington Post, who feel he has not been living up to some of the promises he made. It's not about the expectations from him but the promises," Huffington, who was considered one of the major supporters of Obama during the campaign, said.

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Huffington named the dropping of the public option in his health care plan, [the shutting down of] Guantanamo Bay and the treatment of detainees as examples of his failed promises.

"Though there is vast improvement since the Bush years, it hasn't lived up to what Obama had promised," she said. The outspoken blogger urged the president to "exercise his leadership rather than to hold back, which is what he has done in many areas."

When it comes to the Iranian threat, Huffington said the only thing that should be motivating an American president was what's in the best security interest of the United States. "Invading Iraq and staying there was certainly not in the best security interest of the United States. Escalating the war in Afghanistan was certainly not in the best security interest of the United States. Similarly, the decision the US has to make regarding Iran needs to be made in terms of what's in the best security interest of the US."

"Clearly, right now," she asserted, "serious sanctions are what is on the table and that of course makes sense when you look at the way Ahmadinejad is behaving, the absurd statements he is making and of course the internal opposition within the country, which is very significant and growing."

As the creator of a highly successful and resonating "Internet newspaper" in America, which has over 20 million unique users a month, according to Google Analytics, Huffington has also become a pioneer in the evolution of digital journalism, or new media.

Commenting on Obama's statement earlier this week expressing concern that the "direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context," Huffington said, "I think what President Obama said was an incredibly naive statement. It is not born out of the facts. Today's media includes an online component. Is that what he means by the blogosphere? I mean, The Jerusalem Post has a vibrant online component and so does The New York Times and The Washington Post. It would be impossible to have a major newspaper without a vibrant blogospheric element to it."

Huffington believes in a journalistic approach in which work done by bloggers and traditional journalists is intertwined. "I think that bloggers need to adopt the best traditional values of journalism, including fact checking, and traditional journalists need to adopt the best of the online media world," she said, arguing that the "existence of online media can really facilitate the breaking of stories and the staying on stories."

According to Huffington, "Many major stories break on the front pages of newspapers in the US but die there... We can keep the stories alive by staying on them until there is some real impact."

The full interview with Arianna Huffington will appear next week in The Jerusalem Post

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