Arianna’s Accent on Ethics in Politics
Huffington Post co-founder visits Monterey.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
“This accent is for real,” says media maven Arianna Huffington in her Zsa Zsa Gabor voice. The Greek-born Huffington Post co-founder jokes that she was born in Fresno, but cultivated the accent to give herself the air of an ethnic minority. “And I received 36 e-mails asking me how did you change your accent– 12 from Fresno!
“So that gives you an idea of the gullibility of certain parts of the American electorate– which explains why George Bush got elected for a second term.”
She’s used the opening line before at other talks, but it’s funny (Fresno jokes are inherently funny, and the left-leaning audience in the Monterey Conference Center loves itself an anti-Bush crack) and gets a laugh from the audience. Thus begins Huffington’s Sept. 8 talk on ethics– or the lack thereof– and American politics. Personal ethics, she says, don’t belong in the political discourse, or on the campaign trail.
“This includes questions about whether Sarah Palin is a good mother or not,” she says. “I don’t care. It’s none of the public’s business– unless Child Protective Services is involved.”
She brags that the recent hubbub has increased the popular political site’s hits: it had 16 million unique visitors in the last month, to the consternation of mainstream media scoffers and right-wing critics alike.
And she criticizes the mainstream media for distracting the electorate with minor non-issues, like Palin’s pregnant daughter and Michelle Obama’s “terrorist fist thump” instead of focusing on the real issues: the Iraq war, health care, unemployment, foreclosures.
“Even Cindy McCain [saying] ‘Get the government out of our way’ during the Republican convention, while the government bails out Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.”
Despite her talk about petty distractions, the stylish Huffington, clad in a black pants suit and white blouse, can’t resist poking fun at Cindy McCain’s orange outfits: “I believe that her staff is colorblind.”