Columnist Discusses Her California Race
Astor, Dave, Editor & Publisher
Arianna Huffington will resume her TMS feature in January
Arianna Huffington put her syndicated column on hold this summer to run as an independent for governor of California. She received 42,543 votes, finishing fifth in a field of more than 100 candidates, despite pulling out of the race a week before the Oct. 7 election. Huffington plans to resume her opinion column -- published by 50-plus newspapers via Tribune Media Services -- on Jan. 7. Meanwhile, she's writing Fanatics and Fools for April release from Miramax. That book is about the recall race and how it might affect the 2004 presidential election. Below is an edited E&P interview with Huffington. An unabridged version of the story appears in the Nov. 13 "Syndicate World" at http://www.editorandpublisher.com.
Are you glad you ran for governor?
Absolutely. It was an extremely positive experience. I've always seen myself as an activist as well as a commentator, operating in the tradition of journalists like Tom Paine, Frederick Douglass, and Upton Sinclair, who were willing to move outside the confines of their newspaper work in an effort to affect change. For me, most of the things I write about in my column are fueled by a sense of outrage -- outrage at injustice, corruption, unfairness, and the dishonesty of our leaders. The outside endeavors I become involved with are just another way of expressing that outrage and trying to make a difference... .
Did you miss the column?
It's hard to miss much of anything when you're regularly putting in 15-20 hour days on the campaign trail. And it's not like there wasn't a great deal of writing going on: speeches, position papers, press questionnaires, TV spots, etc. Plus, I had a campaign blog that gave me some of the same ability to communicate with readers/supporters that the column usually provides. But, of course, there were days when I woke up, read the newspaper, and thought: "Boy, I wish I were writing about that today!"
Will running help you as a columnist?
There's no question it will help. It was incredibly edifying to get a chance to experience many of the things I've been writing about. Take the issue of campaign-finance reform: I've been writing and speaking out about the corrosive role Big Money is playing in our politics for many, many years. But after experiencing it firsthand, I realized things are even worse than I thought. …