Mike Papantonio Actually Claims Huffington Post is 'Not Left Leaning'

... which proves one thing, namely that attorney and "Ring of Fire" radio show cohost Mike Papantonio doesn't read The Huffington Post.

How can you tell you're dealing with someone whose politics could not be more obviously, obliviously liberal? When he or she denies being liberal. Conservatives, on the other hand, don't scurry from their conservatism. (audio clips after page break)

That same liberal in serious denial and crying out for psychotherapy can just as surely be expected to deny that something liberal actually isn't.

Exhibit A -- Papantonio, guest hosting on Ed Schultz's radio show May 4 and talking with John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation (audio) --

PAPANTONIO: Hey, make some sense of this, John, I just so value your opinion, make some sense of this. Arianna Huffington, you know, which oddly enough, her site in this is described as a left-leaning Huffington Post, I don't, I don't see it ...

NICHOLS: It's not a news site, really.

PAPANTONIO: It's, it's not, yeah, it's not left leaning. But she comes and says the assassination was a mistake, the most despicable thing you can do. What in the hell's she talking about when she's talking about Obama's assassination of bin Laden?

Papantonio isn't just clueless about HuffPo's liberal orientation -- he also gets it wrong on what Arianna Huffington condemned as "despicable." It wasn't the killing of bin Laden -- or "assassination" as Papantonio curiously prefers to describe it -- it was Obama politicizing bin Laden's death in a campaign ad that suggested Mitt Romney would not have pulled the trigger.

As for Papantonio's claim that Huffington Post is "not left leaning," let's take a look at the site today. The most prominently situated op-ed on the main page? Written by economist Bob Kuttner, co-founder of The American Prospect magazine, which is described on its home page as "liberal, progressive, lefty -- call it what you want, we're proud of it."

Just beneath Kuttner's op-ed is one from Anne Sinclair, editorial director of "Le Huffington Post" (yes, its French edition), expressing "Good Luck, Mr. President!" (yes, with an exclamation point!), to incoming French president Francois Hollande. The fact that Hollande is a socialist should not be construed to mean he is left leaning, at least according to Papantonio.

Also to be found today at HuffPo is an op-ed from NY Times columnist Paul Krugman. Please disregard Krugman's well-established, swooning Keynes fetish. This in no way makes him liberal, as Papantonio would be quick to point out.

Nearby you'll find a clip of former NBA star Charles Barkley telling Mitt Romney, "You're going down, bro." A search at HuffPo for similar disparagement of President Obama from a prominent athlete, supermodel or teen singing sensation will prove extended and fruitless, yet more evidence from Papantonio's perspective of Huffington Post's scrupulously balanced politics.

Speaking of politics, let's have a look at the HuffPo section of the same name. Lead story -- on Republicans "settling for the 'one left standing' ", meaning Romney, a story that Papantonio will cite as an example of HuffPo's devotion to balanced coverage (look, Republicans!).

A sampling of headlines from HuffPo Politics hints at what to expect -- "Proposed GOP Bill Would Hurt Those Already Hurting," "James O'Keefe Ducks Trouble at GOP Event," "If He Were President, the Far Right Would Lead Romney Around by a Ring in His Nose," "The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate," "Rick Scott Choice Could Be His Biggest Failure," "GOP Plan Cuts Social Services to Protect the Pentagon," "Obamacare Pays Off -- in Real Cash," you get the idea. Unless you're Mike Papantonio.

Hold on a sec, what's this? The editor at large of "HuffPost Gay Voices" writing a piece titled "Joe Biden Was for Marriage Equality Before He Was Against It" and criticizing Biden for not wholeheartedly embracing gay marriage. Or as Papantonio sees it, yet more right wing propaganda from HuffPo.

In case you're wondering how The Nation's John Nichols responded to Papantonio's criticism of Huffington, here's a link to a two-minute long clip of Nichols' response. In it you'll hear Papantonio confuse Obama with Osama while Nichols diplomatically steers Papantonio from his persistent assertion that Obama ordered bin Laden "assassinated," and ending with Nichols claiming that Franklin Roosevelt responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by going to war -- with Nazi Germany.

It is also worth noting that while Papantonio denies that Huffington Post is liberal, Nichols denies it's a "news site." Not the sorts of things you heard from left of center until Arianna Huffington dared disparage Dear Leader.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts