Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington on Their Feud
A strange piece in The Guardian implies that rumors of a Daily Beast-Newsweek merger were primarily fueled by Tina Brown’s long competitive dislike of Arianna Huffington. Here, the two “rivals” air their dirty laundry.
Last week, The Guardian published a story about Tina Brown’s interest in acquiring Newsweek, claiming the move was fueled by Brown’s rivalry with Arianna Huffington: “The raison d’être of The Daily Beast is to try to catch Arianna.” Over the weekend, The Huffington Post obtained from an unnamed media executive the transcript of an IM chat between the two women.
TBrown: I know— The Guardian.
AriHuff: How did they find out we “simply cannot stand each other”? I thought we’d done such a good job hiding it over the past four decades… TBrown: The cat’s really out of the bag now. How the hell were they able to track down that “unnamed media executive” who is so “familiar” with both of us?
“Think they would ever run a piece about two guys’ business strategy being fueled solely by bitch-slap rivalry?”
AriHuff: Got to hand it to The Guardian. We are sooooo busted. What’s really sad is that this is exactly the type of fearless, extremely well-sourced investigative reporting that sites like ours are putting out of business.
TBrown: Yeah, I know. Maybe it was that guy lurking around at the book party the other night. He must’ve overheard us discussing our diversionary plans to go to our girls’ college football game and take them to dinner afterward. How did he figure out it was all an elaborate, time-consuming, and pointless act?
AriHuff: Obviously he’s been tracking us for a while. And he clearly picked up on the hostility I showed by hosting a lunch for you to celebrate your Diana book hitting the bestseller lists. Or when I asked you to blog on HuffPost—which you did, on the first day we launched, you bitch.
TBrown: Yep. It takes a real nose for news—I mean, even bigger than your big Greek nose—to realize we were putting up a smokescreen that time we went on vacation together with the kids in Ireland; or that time we went on that girls’ spa escape when you were editing your galleys and I was boning up for my wondrous Di book.
AriHuff: I truly thought we’d pulled the wool over their eyes when I agreed to contribute to The Daily Beast when it launched. Or when HuffPost named you one of our 2009 Game Changers, saying that The Daily Beast was “pure Tina yet completely true to the Web, merging the high and low.” Or when I was quoted saying I considered you “a great friend and a great editor.” But the super-sleuths at The Guardian are obviously just too damn good at this old-school gumshoe journalism thing to fall for that old ruse.
TBrown: Those brilliant newshounds even realized what it really meant when I ran an extract of your new book, Third World America, two weeks ago. Or featured you in that gallery we did on The Beast as one of the 25 smartest people of the decade, with the citation you had turned “the concepts of content aggregation and citizen journalists into an essential media platform,” blah blah blah.
AriHuff: Think they would ever run a piece about two guys’ business strategy being fueled solely by bitch-slap rivalry?
TBrown: Tell me about it. The male editors around town all must be bosom buddies, because otherwise The Guardian’s crack investigative team would no doubt have exposed them.
AriHuff: BTW, it was cunning of you to spin the Newsweek/Beast rumors just to get back at me, and so sweet of Barry to suggest you start The Beast as your revenge vehicle.
TBrown: Well, when I heard Forbes was going to press with its Most Powerful Women list with me at 34 and you at 28, it sent me right over the top!
AriHuff: At least we were both higher than the queen. Have you talked to her lately, you royal toady?
TBrown: Just last week, you big slice of gyro. She’s still really pissed at all the attention showered on Helen Mirren in The Queen.
TBrown: F.U. too.
AriHuff: We still meeting for dinner next week?
TBrown: Of course! AriHuff: See you then.
Tina Brown is the founder and editor in chief of The Daily Beast. She is the author of the 2007 New York Times bestseller The Diana Chronicles. Brown is the former editor of Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Talk magazines and host of CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown .
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of 12 books. She is also co-host of Left, Right & Center.