Politics

‘Post-partisan?’ Suit alleges HuffPo was created to ‘push’ Democratic agenda

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter

According to a suit filed today, the Huffington Post was originally conceived as a liberal, Democratic site, despite editor Arianna Huffington’s protestations that it’s a politically neutral news outlet.

The suit filed today by Peter Daou and James Boyce claims that the concept was “to develop a liberal political website” that “could serve as a liberal counterweight to conservative talk radio and websites such as the Drudge Report.” Daou and Boyce, two Democratic strategists, are suing Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and TheHuffingtonPost.com, claiming that the Huffington Post was their idea, and that Huffington and Lerer stole it and cut them out.

Huffington, announcing the launch of her site in 2005, wrote in a solicitation letter that the site “won’t be left wing or right wing; indeed, it will punch holes in that very stale way of looking at the world,” according to the New York Times.

If Daou and Boyce had as much influence on the site as they allege, then Huffington’s statement at the time was patently false, and the site was created not only with a liberal bent, but was intended to play a fundamental role in the Democratic Party. The two plaintiffs claim to have given Huffington a memo entitled “1460,” which they say became the guide for the website.

“As set forth in the ‘1460’ memorandum that James gave to Huffington,” the complaint filed says, “the core objective in creating the website was to use the potential of the Internet to the fullest extent possible to continue the momentum started during the [2004 presidential] campaign and re-organize the Democratic Party from the outside in, not the inside out.”

The complaint alleges that at a meeting on Dec. 3, 2004 — ostensibly the birth of the Huffington Post — Daou “emphasized that Democrats needed to ‘[m]obilize the online community. It is a system [for] pushing the message.’”