PBS's Smiley Tells Arianna of His Joy When the N.Y. Times Quotes the Huffington Post

Plugging her new book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, Arianna Huffington appeared on the PBS talk show Tavis Smiley on Tuesday night to receive smiles and affirmations from the host. Smiley told Huffington of his personal joy when the Huff-Post is quoted in tainted crown jewel of New York's Old Media:

SMILEY: Speaking of influencing the course of events, I read a number of papers, as do you, every single day before I get moving, and I always smile when I'm reading The New York Times, especially, and I see The New York Times quoting The Huffington Post and I say, "Arianna's having a good day, The New York Times is quoting her." What do you make of the fact that blogs now are the place where news is broken and that the traditional mainstream media outlets end up quoting the blogosphere?

HUFFINGTON: Well, there's a convergence. Increasingly, mainstream media have more and more blogs. More and more of their traditional journalists are blogging. And we, in the online media, are adopting the best part of traditional journalism. And what is that best part? Accuracy, fact checking, fairness. And I'm a blogging evangelist, you know that, Tavis. You and I have been friends for a long time. I never see you without saying, "Tavis, you must blog about that."

Smiley wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about blogs, as he pressed Arianna about those bloggers that are not careful fact-checkers, which might influence readers who are not careful error-sniffers:

SMILEY: I was just reading a survey the other day that suggests that 58 percent of people who are regularly hanging out in the blogosphere believe what they read in the blogosphere. That's a dangerous thing when, again, people are on there expressing their opinions. There is no fact-checking, oftentimes, that goes with it. It's, again, not connected to a lie detector test. And so what gets said about X, Y, or Z or about person X, Y, or Z is just out there and it gets repeated over and over and over again. I don't like that.

HUFFINGTON: I agree, and that's a problem that has existed before the blogosphere and continues to exist. Remember --

SMILEY: But it's getting worse with everybody blogging now.

HUFFINGTON: Well, there is one good thing, though, about blogging, which is that any mistake, any lie, can also be instantly corrected, and we saw that happening during the last election. We saw how many rumors there were, how many lies about Barack Obama - he's a Muslim, he's a terrorist, he's a Marxist. And all that was also instantly corrected.

So in a sense, the fear-mongering that was attempted in the last election did not work partly because of the blogosphere and the Internet. That was not just correcting the lies, but continuing to post the corrections and post them again and again, even after the mainstream media had moved on.

This interview actually seems like a merger of two MRC Special Reports from Fall 2007: Huffington's House of Horrors and No Fairness Doctrine for PBS, which included a section on Smiley's biased presidential primary debates.

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