Did George Clooney Blog for the Huffington Post or Not?

Posted on March 15, 2006

A blog post on the Huffington Post attributed to George Clooney was very popular on the blogosphere earlier this week. Now an L.A. Times blog entry, says Clooney stands by what the blog post said but that he did not exactly give Arianna Huffington, the founder and owner of the Huffington Post, permission to publish the post.

Stan Rosenfield, Clooney's rep, told The L.A. Times, "He doesn't object to the quotes. He said those things and those are his views. Arianna asked for permission to use the quotes and he gave it to her. What he didn't give permission for was the use of his quotes without source attributions to make it appear that he wrote a blog for her site. Which he did not. When he saw the posting Monday, we called and asked her to make the change, to simply attribute the quotes and make it clear that he did not write a blog. But she refused. And it's now Wednesday."

Later came this statement about the post from George Clooney himself. Clooney said, "Miss Huffington's blog is purposefully misleading and I have asked her to clarify the facts. I stand by my statements but I did not write this blog. With my permission Miss Huffington compiled it from interviews with Larry King and The Guardian. What she most certainly did not get my permission to do is to combine only my answers in a blog that misleads the reader into thinking that I wrote this piece. These are not my writings -- they are answers to questions and there is a huge difference."

Arianna Huffington now has an entry on the Huffington Post website explaining how the post from George Clooney came to be.

When I first invited George Clooney to blog after a screening of Good Night, and Good Luck in New York a few months ago, he said he wasn't sure how a blog worked. So we put together a sample blog from answers he had given on Larry King Live and an interview with the Guardian in London, and sent it to him to rework in any way he wanted.

A publicist who was working on the promotion of Good Night, and Good Luck, emailed back saying, "I will get it to him and get back to you as soon as I hear anything." Three days later, she emailed again, approving, without any changes, what we had sent: "Of course this is fine, Arianna!"

And once we had the approval, that's what we ran: George Clooney's words put into blog form.

It sounds like Arianna Huffington had approval from a publicist working to promote Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck film but it isn't good when the blog post's author calls you "purposefully misleading." The post by Arianna also includes an explanation of how blog posts by celebrities are made on the Huffington Post. 99% are straightforward posts but the other 1% are more complex and involve phone, faxes and emails.
A number of commenters have asked me to clarify the process by which our bloggers post. 99% of our bloggers blog directly onto the site (they have a password that enables them to post on their own; the first time we see their posts is when you do -- when it goes up on The Blog). Of the other 1%, some e-mail us their posts, one or two fax them, and, if they are away from a computer, some HuffPosters will occasionally phone in their takes, which we publish for them -- again without any editorial input. Very, very rarely (in 10 months, it's fewer times than you can count on your hand), we will work with a first-time blogger the way editors do in other, traditional media -- suggesting ideas and offering direction on what makes a blog different from, say, a New York Times op-ed.
It sounds like a complex way to make it look like a celebrity wrote a blog post themselves. The Huffpo probably only does it for really big celebrities. George Clooney's blog post has been pulled from the Huffington Post website but you can still read it on Technorati, at least temporarily. Technorati also shows that over 200 blogs had linked to Clooney's popular post called, "I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It!"

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