Huffington Selects Surgery over Substantive Debate

Those who thought the recent buy out of Huffington Post by AOL would only further encourage fluff news might have not made their prediction too soon.

While there is no inextricable link between articles and the new ownership at the moment, or any kind of an ability to guage the implication of the AOL takeover, one thing is for certain: Huffington Post is writing about Gaddafi’s face– not from a political or metaphorical standpoint, but quite literally.

One of the first articles I noticed at the top of the HuffWorld section was an article titled “Gadaffi’s Plastic Surgery: Brazilian Seurgon Claims He Operated on Dictator.”

Really? I would rather see more full-length coverage of the debate surrounding the NATO-bombing of Libya–reporting you can find on sites like, or even Commondreams.

The facial reconstruction of a brutal dictator is the last of my worries. Are we really going to capitalize on a brutal moment in Libya decisively selected by mainstream discourse (while many, including government officials, continue to ignore Bahrain, Yemen and for the most part until today, Syria) by discussing his body modification? This is total Americanization. Taking a name that’s releavant and putting an unnecessary, consumer-oriented twist to it all.

Let’s stop normalizing voluntary body mutiliation as newsworthy content, Huffington. I’d rather hear about the actual site of death and war that is Libya, and much of the Middle East and North Africa, at the moment…let’s hear about why Hilary Clinton has said “violence is not the answer, a political process” in Bahrain, even though such processes, particularly as pressed by the African Union, were ignored in oil-rich Libya. Or why Yemen is given millions of dollars in military aid, which is now being used to attack its people…

They shouldn’t be “out of” story ideas yet, so there’s no excuse for such trashy writing. Hope this was the doing of a bad editor and not a new boss!


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