Tina Brown says the rumors of her rivalry with Arianna Huffington linger only because "everybody likes girl-on-girl action"--and that, just like all that alleged collegiate girl-on-girl action--it's pure myth. "Nobody writes about the editors of Slate and Politico like that," Brown tells The Guardian's Jane Martinson.
Of course, it was The Guardian itself that helped fuel the Tina-Arianna "frenemy" line last fall, when the newspaper reported that Brown wanted to merge The Daily Beast with Newsweek only to stick it to Huffington. "They simply cannot stand each other," a media executive said in October. "Arianna's rise is deeply wounding to Tina, and the raison d'etre of The Daily Beast is to try to catch Arianna." Huffington, it reported, had no love for Brown either: "Tina, in her heyday, didn't give Arianna the time of day. There's a certain amount of schadenfreude here."
Sunday, supposedly in brushing away the "frenemy" meme, Brown turned "a placid breakfast interview into an all-out catfight," the New York Observer's Kat Stoeffel notes, by gushing about her friendship with Huffington in one breath and snubbing her in the next. So is the feud real? The quotes from Brown provides evidence for both:
- "Arianna is a really old girlfriend and I've known her for 30 years. I've always been fond of her and I think her success is marvelous. I really do. I'm very admiring of what she's done."
- On AOL buying The Huffington Post: "Sounds like a very nice happy ending. She'll be paying for the next lunch."
- "As a writer myself, I cannot look other writers in the face and ask them to do things for nothing... In the same way, I wouldn't ask my dentist to give me a free filling. Writing is a profession and you should have respect for that and should pay for it." (The Huffington Post pay many of its bloggers nothing.)
- "I did not want my name to be the name on the website and you know why? I think that websites called after the person running it somehow minimizes the staff working for them. I wanted to attract the very best writers and it wasn't about me. It wasn't an extension of myself." (The Huffington Post is named The Huffington Post.)