HuffPost to Bus Protesters to Rally to Restore Sanity: Is That Really a Good Idea?

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Arianna Huffington attends Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People gala at Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York, May 5, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Arianna Huffington went on the Daily Show this week and pledged support for John Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity. But could her involvement hurt the rally more than it helps?

The Huffington Post is a wonderful website, but even Arianna herself would admit that it is hardly a website devoted to combating the forces of hyperbole. [Full discosure: This writer once drew an hourly wage from HuffPo.] So at first glance the liberal salon would seem to be odd bedfellows with the willfully bipartisan Rally to Restore Sanity. The headlines and gigantic photos on HuffPost scream a lot of things, but “respectful disagreement” isn’t one of them.

On one side, Arianna’s support for the rally — she pledged on TDS a bus trip to the rally for anyone in New York who needs one — makes sense. HuffPost, like everyone else, loves Jon Stewart and wants to be his friend. But NewsFeed doesn’t think it goes both ways. Witness the odd tug-of-war act going on in the interview up top: Stewart seems happy to have Huffington’s support, until she slams the Tea Party. Then he tries to walk her back.

It can’t be easy to plan and implement a successful, completely bipartisan political rally. As Rachel Larimore writes in Slate:

Is the “March To Keep Fear Alive” going to mock everyone on the fringe, or just the Tea Party? And who is it going to attract besides the smuggest of liberals? […]

It seems like if you’re going to have rally to celebrate the “80 percent or so” of Americans that don’t shout and scream and make political debate untenable, as Stewart described his mission, then you should be wary of immediately turning off half of them.

And, as helpful as she may be, that’s the danger of including Huffington.