More on the Huffington Post/AOL Merger

I was busy trying to fight City Hall tonight (see below), but wanted to chime in quickly again about the HuffPo/AOL merger.

As I expected, there’s already word flying about that Arianna Huffington is distancing herself and the Huffington Post from the progressive left that really helped to build the Huffington Post with their loyal support and the work of so many progressive and liberal bloggers.

Huffington told POLITICO: “We don’t see ourselves as left.” 

“And I think it’s one area where news consumers are ahead of the media, because they know that continuing to see everything that’s happening as a right-left issue is missing what’s happening, and is also making it much harder for us to be properly informed.”

Some on the left worry that the sale to AOL could mean an end to HuffPost in its current incarnation — away from its roots in the progressive community, which were its first bloggers, commenters and readers, and toward a more middle-of-the-road posture, to make it more broadly appealing.

But Huffington insists that’s no change at all, and that the transition away from progressive politics has been underway for some time.

I’m wondering if readers had caught on to that transition happening before the sale was announced. I hadn’t heard anything around the rumor mill.

Something else came to my mind today after my earlier post about the merger… Arianna Huffington got a sweet deal for herself on this merger, but the bloggers and writers who all publish content on the HuffPo daily, they got zilch. The majority of the contributors to the Huffington Post work for free.

As Kim Voynar said on Movie City News, “Huff Po Sale: Arianna $300 Million, Writers 0.” And Alex Madrigal noted on the Atlantic:

This morning, thanks to a long-ago blog post for the Arianna’s empire about the future of newspapers, I got the email in which the HuffPo team told their content creators what to expect going forward. The big takeaway? Nothing’s going to be different: “That’s the only real change you’ll notice — more people reading what you wrote.”

Which may be a nice way of saying: hey bloggers, don’t expect to make any money from your writing just because the company got bought for $315 million.

I got that email too, thanks to a few long ago posts there myself. When Huffington founded the HuffPo she had the financial backers to pull off this coup. She shocked plenty with her saavy merger today. I’m sure more will be shocked when she leaves the left even further in the dust. Stay tuned…

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4 Responses to More on the Huffington Post/AOL Merger

  1. Hart Williams says:

    I think you’ve got it right, Pamela, but you ought to go further: The investors will rack up something up to a 100X payout ($3 mil reported capitalization pays out $300 mil), while AOL has said that they will be laying off content producers as they fold their stable into HuffPo.

    So, the wealthy will make out, literally, like bandits, while the writers and producers will actually LOSE ground and jobs, with zero indication that another “Left” flagship will NOT go down.

    Since it’s a buyout, the “promise” that Arianna will control AOL’s content is less than comforting. When HuffPo’s content becomes threatening or gets in the way of Corporate Prophets, there is nothing to stop her from being shown a long walk off a short pier.

    Somehow, in the past couple of years, we have lost Keith Olbermann (and soon to follow, probably, the rest of the MSNBC stable), Helen Thomas, ACORN, AirAmerica, Open Left a couple days ago, and now HuffPo.

    Funny, all those coincidences. No matter how horrific the excesses of the Reicht, no one loses their jobs. No matter how well spoken the voices on the Left, they lose their platforms and jobs in increasing numbers.

    Hard to believe that it’s all coincidental.

  2. Hart

    As you and I both know the wealthy always seem to make out like bandits while the little guys, in this case, the writers usually always lose.

    On a side note… your posts here have been missed.

  3. Hart Williams says:

    Thanks, Pamela. That can be remedied.

  4. I hope so Hart… I’ll be looking for something new from you soon!