Huffington Post Skips Love and Marriage, Goes Right to Divorce
‘News’ site of famously-divorced Arianna Huffington boasts proud new divorce section, with headlines like, ‘Divorce! It’s Good for the Children!’
by Erin Brown, Culture and Media Institute
“Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever.” This phrase is the motto for and the foundation of the Huffington Post’s brand new pro-divorce section. Headed up by famous and thrice-divorced author and movie-producer Nora Ephron (whose recent book on divorce is titled ‘I Remember Nothing’) and the website’s namesake and co-founder, liberal commentator Arianna Huffington, the lefty website’s new section proudly considers itself a source of information for all things divorce.
The Divorce pages of the Huffington Post are a repository of sophistry, self-help speak and sex jokes. Divorced parents remarrying and “getting into bed,” ha ha. Divorce is good for children because the nuclear family is simply “dull.” The disheartening reality of divorce is trivialized all over the site with lines such as “Quickie divorces … are inexpensive and relatively simple ways to split up on the fly.”
“… Our newest section will tackle the topic from many angles, providing insight, resources, community, and some comic relief …” wrote Huffington in her inaugural post. Perhaps it does all those things, but without a counterbalancing page on marriage, it just comes across as a depressing, left-wing agenda push for a society in which divorce is celebrated as an exercise of personal freedom, and commitment to marriage is simply an old-school, unattainable, conservative theory.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the Divorce tab. The Huffington Post is the official website of hipper-than-thou liberal Hollywood. And we all know how sacred marriage is in Tinsel Town. This is another radical example of left-wing ideology where divorce is a lifestyle choice without consequences.
While on its face, the idea of dedicating a webpage to coping with divorce seems noble, a fuller reading of it’s actual content shows something different. The Culture and Media Institute has highlighted five of the most egregious examples of commitment-shrugging, selfishness and simple inappropriateness found on the Huffington Post divorce pages.
Five Big Faults from the No-Faulters
1. Contradictory Headlines – Fittingly enough, the Huffington Post itself cannot even decide whether or not divorce is beneficial for children. One headline featured on November 12 read, “Divorce! It’s Good for the Children!” and appeared with a photograph of smiling, jumping kids. The piece by Jane Smiley, a Pulitzer-prize winning novelist, cited the unique dynamic of step brothers and sisters and half brothers and sisters from divorced families as a reason that divorce is good for children. The traditional nuclear family is “dull.”
But a headline just three days later read, “The Kids are Not Alright,” and featured a Q&A interview with Judith Walerstein,who has studied the long term effects of divorce on children.
Huffington, in her debut piece for the divorce page recalled her own daughter’s reaction to the news of her divorce from former Republican congressman Michael Huffington. “Over a million children a year watch their parents get divorced – most of them wishing more than anything that mom and dad would get back together,” she wrote. “That’s how it was with our oldest daughter, who was eight when her father and I broke up. She was devastated—and steadfastly refused to accept it… It was heartbreaking.” Being “devastated” sure doesn’t sound like a good thing for a child.
2. Quickie Divorce – One would think its best not to trivialize that which devastates a child, but the mashup titled “Quickie Divorce Made Easy: Best Spots for a Quick ‘I Don’t’” certainly fits the bill.
In what can best be described as a photo mashup of great places to get a speedy divorce, the Huffington Post plays down the decision to divorce by boasting the “Quickie Divorce” headline, implying it requires little thought and fast action.
“Quickie Divorces, while less famous than their counterparts, quickie marriages, are inexpensive and relatively simple ways to split up on the fly,” wrote Ashley Reich.
The mashup included a promotion for online divorces (because they are fast and much less expensive according to the Huffington Post), complete with a photograph of a seedy-looking van with a “quick divorce” phone number on it. It also featured a map of the United States, highlighting the best states in which to get a divorce, and photos of Guam and the Dominican Republic – two places that divorces can be finalized in under three days.
3. Don’t forget the children! “Best divorce books for kids” is another sad feature in the Huffington Post divorce section. The site’s editors have taken to recommending illustrated books for children about why mommy and daddy have split, including books titled “Dinosaur Divorce” by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown, and “Two Homes” by Claire Masurel. “Two Homes” recommended for children aged three to six, is praised by Terri Schmitz, owner of The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Massachusetts, who says the book is “very low key and very gentle and just talks about the good things about each home.’”
4. Divorce – a real laugh riot. To somewhat lighten the mood for site browsers, the “Divorce Aphorism of the Day” is an attempt to provide pithy quips for those affected by divorce. “For some reason, we see divorce as a signal of failure, despite the fact that each of us has a right, and an obligation, to rectify any other mistake we make in life,” was one quote by Joyce Brothers featured as a daily aphorism.
“Marriage is the chief cause of divorce.” Groucho Marx. “When two divorced people marry, four people get into bed.” Jewish Proverb. These quotes, along with eight others, were featured in an article in the Examiner linked to on the Huffington Post Divorce Web Page. These “Top Ten Divorce Quotes” were cheesy at best, and mostly just heartbreaking as they minimalized the impact of divorce, and cast a comedic shadow over a truly unfortunate reality for many families.
5. Default Position – Attack Sarah Palin. In typical Huffington Post fashion, the page wouldn’t be complete without a shot at favorite conservative punching bag Sarah Palin. The Divorce page featured a relatively pointless articletitled “Sarah and Todd Palin Shoot Down Divorce Rumors.” The 177 word blog post merely highlighted a recent People magazine interview in which the couple reacted to false rumors of a $20 million divorce that circled back in 2009.
Huffington Post – House Organ for Liberal Hollywood
The Huffington Post is far from an objective news source, although it plays one on TV. The site has earned a seat in the coveted White House press pool. Co-founder Arianna Huffington, often not identified for viewers as a liberal, is a frequent guest on news programs, offering her opinion on everything from religion to economic issues. Huffington is so far in the tank for liberal agenda, that she has suggested conservative talk show hosts like Glenn Beck should be an “exemption to the free speech protection by the First Amendment” She said as much on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann in 2009, also repeating the host’s term that Beck is the “fear-monger-in-chief.”
The Huffington Post’s liberalism shows in its news slant, its choice of columnists, and even in its religion section. Just days after promoting the idea that “Islamophobia” exists and that conservatives are “a vocal minority of extremists” that wish to “capitalize and advance on their bigotry and xenophobia,” the Huffington Post published Vatican-bashing attack from singer Sinead O’Connor, full of false accusations and anti-Catholic rhetoric.
In 2007 the Media Research Center chronicled some examples of the liberal bias found among the Huffington Post’s pages, much of it smearing the Bush administration. “But HuffPo’s official bloggers, many of them Hollywood celebrities, have often matched that harshness of tone in posts that unloaded on the wrong-headedness of America and its re-election of the Bush administration, often loaded with profanity and crude sexual and excretory metaphors,” wrote the MRC’s Graham. “Human scum,” “bastards,” “crypto-fascist puppetmaster,” “sadistic alcoholic” and “terrorists” were all terms used by Huffington Post bloggers to describe either former President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.
Arianna runs a site for and by unabashedly left-wing entertainment elites and those who aspire to be like them. So when she decided to start her divorce page, she turned to someone who more than fit that profile. Huffington Post Divorce section co-creator Nora Ephron has more on her rap sheet than just producing Hollywood movies like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally,” and her famous divorce movie, “Heartburn.”
The Media Research Center highlighted an April 2008 Huffington Post blog post by Ephron that contained a racist and sexist rant against white men:
This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men….To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday’s primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them. And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain’s temper will be a problem, don’t bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what’s more, they think it’s normal.
With Ephron and Huffington as the section’s co-founders, Huffington Post Divorce should continue to be informed by that same smug lefty point-of-view that leads to such penetrating political analysis.
Defense of Marriage – Going… Going… Gone!
The Huffington Post is not alone in its shoulder-shrugging over divorce and its ‘ho-humming’ about broken marriages. From a rash of celebrity divorces to high-profile political separations, NPR, NBC, and the Wall Street Journal were among the media outlets that made light of the devastating effects of divorce.
The Culture and Media Institute noted that Wall Street Journal writer Jeffrey Zaslow attempted to put the Gore separation into context with some disheartening Census statistics about divorce. “Whatever the Gores’ issues – he’s 62, she’s 61 – they are part of a new normal that began with their generation, according to Census statistics. Of the 8.1 million women who were married between 1970 and 1974, just over half made it to their 30th wedding anniversary, compared with about 60% for women married between 1960 and 1964,” Zaslow said.
Naturally, National Public Radio hosted a lefty guest that shifted the rhetoric to paint the Gore separation, in a positive light. “NPR reporter Jennifer Ludden interviewed Professor Betsey Stevenson of the University of Pennsylvania on the subject of the Gore separation,” CMI wrote. “According to Ludden, Stevenson prefers to see the Gores’ separation not as a failure of marriage, but as a celebration of life.”
After the separation and divorces of famous celebrity couples such as Sandra Bullock and Jesse James and David Arquette and Courtney Cox this summer, NBC Today show correspondent Amy Robach asked the semi-rhetorical question, “Is monogamy realistic?” during the October 12 broadcast.
But the Huffington Post seems to have really missed the mark. “Our goal is to produce a fast, fearless, highly interactive guide to the profound changes divorce brings to families, friendships, careers and finances – to say nothing of the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of those going through it,” wrote Huffington.
Since Arianna Huffington herself admits divorce changes everything and admittedly had a negative effect on her own children, the question must be asked: Why not dedicate a section to preventing divorce and supporting marriage?