Arianna Huffington’s grand experiment, The Huffington Post, is up and running. It’s basically a massive vanity group-blog in which she and her friends snark on news and politics, which isn’t that big a deal, except that she has a few dozen friends writing for it, and her friends are a hell of a lot more famous than yours. The list of contributors ranges from celebrities (John Cusak, Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to pundits (David Frum, Michael Isikoff) to celebrity pundits (Tina Brown, Jon Corzine).

The always-smart CJR Daily notices exactly what the problem with this setup is:

A bigger potential problem: lack of focus. We’ve got to agree with Howard Kurtz, who points out that while “[t]he best blogs, love ‘em or hate ‘em, have an unmistakable voice; this will be a cacophony of voices.” That’s not much of a stumbling block when the voices strike a similar tone — see Volokh and Oxblog — but the Huffington Post is all over the map. Theoretically, jumping from Ellen DeGeneres’ take on horse slaughter to David Mamet’s rumination on computers/blogging/hermaphrodites to David Frum’s complaint that Russia is moving in the wrong direction (the posts are back to back to back on the “featured posts” page) could be mind-expanding, the lack of focus perhaps appealing to the intellectual dilettante inside us all. In reality, though, all the jumping around makes one long for the soothing consistency of someone like Kevin Drum.

It seems like the Huffington Post is banking on the idea that if they get enough famous people to write for them, people will have no choice but to read at least some of their posts. For the time being, they are of course right: I couldn’t care less what Harry Shearer has to say about the media, but I can’t really ignore Walter Cronkite now, can I?