Identification: Greek-born author and journalist
Born: July 15, 1950; Athens, Greece
Significance: One of the most politically influential immigrants of the early twenty-first century, Huffington has established herself as a centrist within a variety of media, including the World Wide Web, and named one of Time magazine’s one hundred most influential people in 2006.
Born Arianna Stassinopolus in the capital of Greece, Arianna Huffington developed a slant toward conservative viewpoints as she grew up in her native country. However, her views shifted toward a more centrist stance after she settled in the United States, and she has called herself a progressive populist. Coming from a line of Greek journalists, she made her way to the United States in 1980 after studying at Cambridge University in England. There she lived with the English author and journalist Henry Levin, who is said to have influenced her work and political positions. At Cambridge, she was the first foreign student to hold the position of president of the Cambridge Union Society.
During the 1980’s, Huffington’s political activities leaned more to the right and introduced her to Michael Huffington, an American politicianwhom she would marry in 1986. She was instrumental in supporting her husband’s political career until they divorced in 1997. After becoming an American citizen, Arianna began to pursue her own career and made a swing back to more liberal views on most subjects. In 2003, she ran as an independent candidate in California’s special gubernatorial election that another immigrant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, won. Although she officially withdrew from the election before it was held, her name remained on the ballot, and she finished fifth in a field of more than one hundred candidates.
Arianna Huffington in early 2009. (Getty Images)
Huffington’s move to the news media’s fourth dimension, cyberspace, came about after she had published several articles in The National Review and made appearances on television and public radio. In 2005, she launched her Huffington Post blog site on theWorldWideWeb. The countless blog entries she has posted there have covered events ranging from presidential politics to the dinner habits of elites and common people alike. She has also authored a number of books, ranging from biographies to messages on spirituality.
Other activities that have kept Huffington in the public’s attention have included her political roundtable program on National Public Radio, Left, Right, and Center, which presents civil discussions of political events shaping the world. Her Detroit Project is a grassroots campaign designed to encourage American auto manufacturers to build vehicles that reduce American dependency on foreign oil. She has stated that she wants Detroit to build cars “that get Americans to work in the morning, without sending us to war in the afternoon.”
Karel S. Sovak
See also: Greek immigrants; Jennings, Peter; Pulitzer, Joseph; Schwarzenegger, Arnold.