The George Clooney blog that was posted on the Huffington Post Sunday was published only after we received written approval from his representative to do so. Here's the story:
When I first invited George Clooney to blog after a screening of Good Night, and Good Luck 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.
This was an honest misunderstanding. But any misunderstanding that occurred, occurred between Clooney and the publicist. We based our decision to post on the unambiguous approval we received in writing. There was no room for misunderstanding in that.
Update: 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. Part of what we've always tried to do with HuffPost is bring to the blogosphere some of the most interesting voices of our time that are not already there. This is the first time there was no back and forth with the writer -- our sample was approved 'as is' -- which is where the misunderstanding occurred.