CBS: Arianna Huffington Laments Sarah Palin’s ‘Lack of Curiosity’

Arianna Huffington, CBS During a discussion with co-host Maggie Rodriguez on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, liberal blogger Arianna Huffington, remarked that: "The problem with Sarah Palin was not anything to do with her being a woman. It had to do with her antediluvian views on creationism, her lack of curiosity, her lack of interest in the world around her."

The segment was about an open mic gaffe by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who said of Arizona Governor and Obama’s Homeland Security secretary nominee Janet Napolitano: "Janet's perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect." Rodriguez turned to Huffington and asked: "So what did you think about Governor Rendell's comment. Did you think it was sexist?" Huffington vigorously defended Napolitano: "I think that is really...an illusion about a woman's life. Like Janet Napolitano has a very rich life. I mean, she plays tennis twice a week and nobody in her staff can interfere with that sacred time. She actually climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. She goes river rafting. She loves movies and the opera."

However, Rodriguez observed: "You talked a lot about perceptions of women, especially women in politics, during the campaign, when Sarah Palin was in the news. And on your blog you openly criticized her." Huffington offered no defense of Palin: "Well, I thought that Sarah Palin, in a way, summed up what happens when you're not curious. When you're not interested in what is going on in the world. Because my problem with her was really her response to Katie Couric, when she was asked 'what do you read?' and she couldn't give an answer."

Later, Rodriguez asked Huffington: "Did you ever think that your blog, that blogging, would be so successful and have such an impact?...What is it about blogging that appeals to people so much?" Huffington replied: "It's so intimate. It's first thoughts, best thoughts...And also, right now when people are going through such hard times, it helps deal with the isolation of losing a job, or your 401(k) being depleted, and we want to collect all the stories and blogging is...It's very therapeutic, without having to pay a therapist, which many of us cannot afford."

While Huffington spoke of blogging as "therapeutic," a 2007 Media Research Center study, Huffington’s House of Horrors, found that the material found on the left-wing blog was far from soothing. In one case, Actor Alec Baldwin wrote: "Cheney is a terrorist. He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately." In another, HuffPost blogger Peter Mehlman compared the Bush administration to past dictatorships: "the Bush administration is the first that doesn’t even mean well. You could argue that even the world’s worst fascist dictators at least meant well."

Here is the full transcript of the Thursday segment:

7:30AM TEASE:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Also ahead this morning, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, did you hear about this? He put his foot in his mouth. He said something about another governor that was caught by an open mic. Well, coming up, we're going to hear what he said and his apology.

7:31AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Politicians know to beware of an open microphone, but Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell forget that for a moment while commenting about Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano, Barack Obama's choice for Homeland Security secretary.

ED RENDELL [OPEN MIC]: Janet's perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it. It's just like being an umpire at a baseball game, you do a great job, nobody notices. You screw up...we're talking about Janet.

ED RENDELL [PUBLIC APOLOGY]: What I meant is that Janet's a person who works 24/7, just like I do. Now, she has no life, neither do I. To be governor and to do your job well, you can't have a life. Governor Napolitano is one of the best governors in the country. She works literally 24/7 as governor. She'll do a great job because Governor Ridge told me you have to live that job every minute. Live that job every minute.

RODRIGUEZ: We are joined by Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. Also, now the author of 'The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.' Good morning, to you.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Good morning.

RODRIGUEZ: We know that you're not shy about giving your opinion. So what did you think about Governor Rendell's comment. Did you think it was sexist?

HUFFINGTON: Actually, you know what I thought? I thought that it really optimized a misperception in our culture. That if you work 20 hours a day, if you have no life, you're going to be more effective. And I believe the exact opposite. In fact, on The Huffington Post, and in the book, we have a lot of blogging about how you need to unplug and recharge, is what he we call it.

RODRIGUEZ: Right.

HUFFINGTON: That, in fact, if some of these Wall Street executives or these auto industry executives had spent more time napping and doing something to bring balance in their lives, they might have made better judgments, which is really the key to leadership, is judgment and wisdom, rather than being a work-acholic.

RODRIGUEZ: So do you think that if it was a man who was the nominee for that job that the comment would have been made. The "no family" distinction would have been made?

HUFFINGTON: I think that is really, again, an illusion about a woman's life. Like Janet Napolitano has a very rich life. I mean, she plays tennis twice a week and nobody in her staff can interfere with that sacred time. She actually climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. She goes river rafting. She loves movies and the opera. So the idea that because she doesn't have a family and children, she's a complete work-acholic, or that this is a good thing, is a real misperception. And we really want to do something to change it, because men, after all, you know, end up with heart attacks or high blood pressure or something in their 50s or 60s, just because they have no balance in their lives.

RODRIGUEZ: You talked a lot about perceptions of women, especially women in politics, during the campaign, when Sarah Palin was in the news. And on your blog you openly criticized her.

HUFFINGTON: Well, I thought that Sarah Palin, in a way, summed up what happens when you're not curious. When you're not interested in what is going on in the world, because my problem with her was really her response to Katie Couric, when she was asked 'what do you read?' and she couldn't give an answer. The problem with Sarah Palin was not anything to do with her being a woman. It had to do with her antediluvian views on creationism, her lack of curiosity, her lack of interest in the world around her.

RODRIGUEZ: Did you ever think that your blog, that blogging, would be so successful and have such an impact?

HUFFINGTON: Well, we've been alive now for 3 ½ years and since then, blogging was exploded and, in fact, right now, we have a feature on The Huffington Post called 'Blogging the Meltdown,' because-

RODRIGUEZ: What is it about blogging that appeals to people so much?

HUFFINGTON: It's so intimate. It's first thoughts, best thoughts. It's the way you e-mail a friend, as opposed to the way you write a polished op-ed or a book. And also, right now when people are going through such hard times, it helps deal with the isolation of losing a job, or your 401(k) being depleted, and we want to collect all the stories and blogging is-

RODRIGUEZ: It's a release.

HUFFINGTON: Exactly. It's very therapeutic, without having to pay a therapist, which many of us cannot afford.

RODRIGUEZ: There you go.

HUFFINGTON: And in the end, collecting all these stories creates a sense of community.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright, well congratulations on The Huffington Post and the book.

HUFFINGTON: Thank you so much.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC