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.
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…