One of my favorite news website is the Huffington Post. Not only is it a great resource for lefties like me, but it also provided jobs for liberal bloggers-- three thousand of them-- who contributed to Arianna Huffington's success and rocketed her website to the top of the biz. Now the blockbuster site has been purchased from the socialite to the tune of $315 million.
I wasn't sure what this would mean for the the news outlet. I mean, how relevant is AOL anymore? And what will this mean for HuffPo? The official statement is that it is a "Merger of Visions," and the hope is that the vision of HuffPo isn't compromised, but instead brings a breath of fresh air to the lagging internet giant.
Not very many people have that hope. Around 500 commenters were polled, and 81% opposed the merger. Perhaps more central to the issue is the writers: disaffected contributors are bailing at an alarming rate. From Adbusters:
"Socialite Arianna Huffington built a blog-empire on the backs of thousands of citizen journalists. She exploited our idealism and let us labor under the illusion that the Huffington Post was different, independent and leftist. Now she’s cashed in and three thousand indie bloggers find themselves working for a megacorp.
"But the Huffington Post is not Arianna’s to sell. It is ours: the lefty writers and readers, environmentalism activists and anti-corporate organizers who flooded the site with 25 million visits a month. So we’re going to take it back.
"We’ll stop going to her site. And we’ll stop blogging for her too. Then we’ll give birth to an alternative to AOL’s HuffPo by using the #huffpuff hash tag to tell the world about our favorite counter-culture websites and indie blogs. "We are the ones who built the Huffington Post. And now we will be the ones who will huff & puff it down."
I have to admit I was dismayed by this this news. How can a website that encourages anti-corporate activity suddenly become corporate? Are we really supposed to pretend this isn't going to impact content? Nobody is surprised by the perks she gets from the deal: Arianna got a cush new job as Editor-in-Chief of News at AOL.
Sigh. Fuck you, Arianna!