At The Huffington Post we report minute by minute, but sometimes the best way to cover the news is to get some distance from it. We do that in many ways: with investigative projects such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Beyond the Battlefield; with our brilliantly hilarious daily email newsletter about politics and legislation, HuffPost Hill; with our visually stunning, deeply reported iPad newsmagazine, Huffington; and with the global observations of our own founder, namesake, and planetary citizen, Arianna Huffington.
Today we offer another rather less lofty effort at explanatory distance. We're calling it the HuffPost List. Our strategy is reductionist: to boil down a trend, theme, phenomenon or story to its instructive, funny, and/or absurd essence in a short, counted-down compendium (admittedly not a very funny summary). For our inaugural HuffPost List we judge the six best/worst recent presidential campaign ads. The resulting List is a depressingly riveting picture of lunatic mendacity in the name of political discourse, and it tells us way too much about the condition of our democracy.
I will mention our two chief list makers. Jason Linkins is a HuffPost political reporter and prolific blogger who specializes in the intersection of political rhetoric and media. He was a theater major at UVA, which gives him a sure sense of the overwrought actors on the stages he covers. Sabrina Siddiqui, also a political reporter, gets her perspective from her global heritage. She was reared in Rome by her South Asian parents, studied at Northwestern, worked at Bloomberg News, and served as editor in chief of a South Asian news network called Divanee.com.
"Divanee," she explained to me, means "passionate," which she and Jason are about in journalism and now the List.
Since you are Huffington Post readers, I don't have to ask you to tell us what you think. We already know that you will.