Democracy Soup

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The Huffington Post sinks to the level of fake celebrity boobs to be the Media Putz

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Originally published on MediaPutz.com on May 21, 2009

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post has produced some fine progressive content, some of it being purely original, presented in an effort to inform and entertain. Which is all the more reason why we wonder why it needs to slither in depths well beneath its otherwise decent standards into the depths of sticky, gooey tarpits.

Three words: fake celebrity boobs.

Three more words: What The F—!

When you read a story on The Huffington Post, you get a running list of the top read stories on the site — “Popular Stories on HuffPost.” So you can’t get the legitimate information you want without being tempted by this week’s top story “Guess The Celebrity Breast Implants (PHOTOS).”

The “challenge” is simple: see a cropped picture, sans face, of fake breasts, complete with cleavage, and guess to which celebrity the fake breasts belong.

The “inspiration” for the story stems from the breast implants from the current reigning Miss California, Carrie Prejean. But instead of having a discussion about whether breast implants are truly necessary, and why the pageant felt it necessary to buy them for a contestant, we are “treated” to gratuitous photos.

And the photos, other than Prejean (and that’s a stretch even for her situation), have no news value at all.

In the segment, the celebrities are identified with little more than their name. But occasionally, there is a brief explanation. For one of the pseudo-celebrities, “America’s Next Top Model” winner Adrianne Curry, best known for being married to the guy who played Peter Brady on TV two generations ago, says she got implants to correct unevenness.

Now, if there was an informative statement that pointed out that most breasts naturally aren’t exactly identical in size, then we would have learned something. But we couldn’t even get that much from the exhibit.

The only possible good from this story is by showing how horrible they look, they might inspire young women to have second thoughts about having plastic surgery. But that isn’t even a direct message from the photo essay, and it’s not worth the journalistic price paid by running this piece.

And if you weren’t sufficiently thrown off by that story, there is the natural follow-up, currently the #2 popular story on HuffPost: BETTER WETTER? Who’s Hotter When Soaking Wet? (PHOTOS, POLL).

The Internet provides a challenge to draw in eyeballs to a site. Serious news outlets might joke that their numbers would go up if only they could run porn, side-by-side. But it’s not a serious suggestion.

And the news industry certainly accepts the prospect of cheap images as long as there is a news angle. The Associated Press is one of many media outlets that has written or broadcast a story about how women are turning to being strippers in tough economic times. Of course, we need to see video footage inside a strip joint to amplify the story, but again, it has a “news angle” so it’s “okay.”

Even in that case, there never was a follow-up. For example, why women might be suffering worse in these economic times, or if men are suffering worse because they don’t have these “opportunities,” such as they are. But that would be more news than cheap attention.

But newsgathering organizations have to rely on credibility and legitimacy. Articles on fake celebrity boobs with no news value destroy both. As of this writing, this photo essay has received 1,158,595 views — a lot of hits — but at what price?

The Huffington Post has been portrayed as a progressive news Web site run by a woman, yet the site is filled with celebrity misogynist content, none more egregious than the fake celebrity breasts photo essay.

For resorting to cheap, tasteless, non-news value, sexually titillating exploits to get eyeballs to a legitimate news site, we hand out the Media Putz to The Huffington Post, an outlet that should know be a model of progressiveness, not slithering in the gutter of a teasing tabloid.

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Written by democracysoup

May 21, 2009 at 6:00 am

Posted in media criticism, MSM

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