Arianna Huffington (born Arianna Stassinopoulos, on July 15, 1950) is an author, media gadfly, and nationally syndicated columnist in the United States. She is the founder of The Huffington Post, a liberal online news and commentary website and aggregated blog.
After graduation, she moved to London and lived with the journalist and broadcaster Bernard Levin, whom she had met while the two were panelists on the TV show Face the Music. She left Levin in 1980, and moved to the United States. During these years and around the time of her involvement with John-Roger's religious group, she was involved with Democratic politician and then-governor (currently Attorney General) of California, Jerry Brown. It was during this time that Huffington (then Stassinopoulos) was first known as a liberal/left-wing/Democrat, the position she returned to once again in the post-90s following the right-wing years of the 1980s to late 1990s.
She met oil millionaire Michael Huffington, a family friend of the Bushes at a 1985 party hosted by Ann Getty in San Francisco. The couple were married in 1986 at a wedding paid for by Ann Getty, who had declared that she needed to find Arianna a husband. They moved to Washington, D.C., when he was appointed to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy. They later established residency in Santa Barbara, California, in order for him to run in 1992 as a Republican for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, which he won by a significant margin. He was a political conservative on most issues. Arianna campaigned for her husband, courting religious conservatives, arguing for smaller government and a reduction in welfare. In 1994 he narrowly lost the race for the U.S. Senate seat from California to incumbent Dianne Feinstein.
The couple divorced in 1997, and in 1998 Michael Huffington disclosed his bisexuality. A 1999 magazine article claimed that Arianna Huffington "entered the marriage... with full knowledge of Michael Huffington's sexual interests in men". The financial terms of their divorce agreement remain undisclosed, but Huffington gained most of her wealth from her husband. Arianna Huffington chose to retain her former husband's surname, although she had been known as Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington during the period of her marriage.
Huffington's politics began changing in the late 1990s, moving noticeably to the left. During the former Yugoslavia Balkans wars of the 1990s Huffington opposed United States intervention in the crisis.
Huffington heads The Detroit Project, a public interest group lobbying automakers to start producing cars running on alternative fuels. The project's 2003 TV ads, which equated driving sport utility vehicles to funding terrorism, proved to be particularly controversial, with some stations refusing to run them.
In a 2004 appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart she announced her endorsement of John Kerry by saying that "When your house is burning down, you don't worry about the remodeling." In recent years, she has been closely associated with the Democratic Party. Huffington was a panel speaker during the 2005 California Democratic Party State Convention, held in Los Angeles. She also spoke at the 2004 College Democrats of America Convention in Boston, which was held in conjunction with the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Despite briefly retaining former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley as a campaign advisor and advertising executive Bill Hillsman as her media director, she dropped out of the race on September 30, 2003. "I'm pulling out, and I'm going to concentrate every ounce of time and energy over the next week working to defeat the recall because I realize now that's the only way to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger," she said. Others attributed her exit to her inability to garner support for her candidacy, noting that polls showed that only about two percent of likely California voters planned to vote for her at the time of her withdrawal. Though she failed to stop the recall, Huffington's name still appeared on the ballot and she placed 5th in a field of 135 candidates, capturing 0.6 percent of the votes. Her former husband endorsed Schwarzenegger.
Huffington's book The Fourth Instinct is based on the idea that all humans have an inherent spiritual yearning.
After her attempts to woo the religious right, in 1994, Doonesbury Cartoonist Garry Trudeau created a spoof of Arianna Huffington's spiritual experiences with a Los Angeles-based spiritual organization founded by John-Roger, the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness. The purpose of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) is to teach Soul Transcendence, which is becoming aware of yourself as a Soul and as one with God, not as a theory but as a living reality. Huffington has said that "I've been involved with John-Roger and the church for many years now" Tax returns show Huffington as an MSIA donor.
Huffington has also courted conservative Christian Republicans, commonly referred to as the Religious Right, by advocating a removal of the welfare state, to be replaced by voluntary charitable donation, stating that "big government cheats people out of the spiritual rewards of giving to the needy". "It's time to bring God into the public square," Arianna Huffington declared, while giving a talk on The Fourth Instinct before a Republican women's conference.
More recently, Huffington has criticized the Christians of the Republican party as those "who don't believe in evolution but believe in torture". Her weblog, The Huffington Post, has three of the world's most prominent atheist writers as contributors: Sam Harris (The End of Faith); Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion); Christopher Hitchens (God is not Great).
Huffington is co-host of the nationally syndicated public radio program Left, Right & Center. She was originally introduced by the moderator as occupying the chair “from the right,” but is now described as “coming from the fourth dimension of political time and space,” or from the “independent-progressive blogosphere.” In May 2007, she and Mark J. Green began co-hosting a new radio show on Air America Radio, 7 Days in America.
Huffington also has an Internet presence with her website The Huffington Post, which features blogs and commentary from her and from a number of prominent journalists, public officials, and celebrities. The site also highlights news stories from various sources.
Prior to the Huffington Post, Huffington hosted a website called Ariannaonline.com. Her first foray into the Internet was a website called Resignation.com, which called for the resignation of President Bill Clinton and was a rallying place for conservatives opposing Clinton.
Huffington was accused of plagiarism for copying material for her book Maria Callas; the claims were settled out of court.
Mrs. Messiah: the California Senate race. (Arianna Stassinopoulos, wife of Republican candidate Michael Huffington) (American Survey)
Oct 15, 1994; THANK goodness for Arianna Stassinopoulos--socialite, author, former minister in a Californian religious cult and wife of...