Arianna Huffington: Liberal Icon and Hypocrite.

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nighttimer

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You can't be a good little liberal without regular visits to the Huffington Post, the wildly successful left-leaning site which was recently sold to AOL for $315 million. Fans of the HuffPo are wondering what the sale will mean to the site's content.

One thing that will not change is the HuffPo's policy of not paying freelancers.

Whatever the ultimate impact of AOL's $315-million acquisition of the Huffington Post on the new-media landscape, it's already clear that the merger will push more journalists more deeply into the tragically expanding low-wage sector of our increasingly brutal economy.

<snip>

The other partner to this dubious arrangement is the Huffington Post, which is a new-media marvel of ingenuity, combining a mastery of editing geared to game the search engines that stimulate Web traffic and overhead that would shame an antebellum plantation. The bulk of the site's content is provided by commentators, who work for nothing other than the opportunity to champion causes or ideas to which they're devoted. Most of the rest of the content is "aggregated" — which is to say stolen — from the newspapers and television networks that pay journalists to gather and edit the news.

The Huffington Post is a brilliantly packaged product with a particular flair for addressing the cultural and entertainment tastes of its overwhelmingly liberal audience. To grasp its business model, though, you need to picture a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates. Given the fact that its founder, Huffington, reportedly will walk away from this acquisition with a personal profit of as much as $100 million, it makes all the Post's raging against Wall Street plutocrats, crony capitalism and the Bush and Obama administrations' insensitivities to the middle class and the unemployed a bit much.


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Arianna Huffington, the supposed liberal champion of the oppressed and the friend of the working man will walk away from the sale or her site to AOL with $100 million. And AOL/HuffPo will continue their tradition of not paying contributors a damn dime.

I'd rather write for a right-winger that shows me the respect of paying me for my work than a supposed "liberal" who screws me over instead of oohing and ahhing over the supreme privilege of contributing to a rich woman's website for nothing.

Huffington has built a $300 million media empire off the backs of people who write for free. The excuse that many bloggers and writers give when writing for free is that it gives them exposure. I certainly am aware that “exposure” can be a form of payment, but there are limits. You have to be choosy especially if your eventual goal is to freelance write fulltime.

On a site like HuffPo which is crowded with content, readers rarely click through to links contained in posts or their skimpy author box. When you visit HuffPo it feels like you’re being attacked with information. If you follow my pattern when I visit the site you click from article to article paying little to no attention to who wrote what. Some exposure that is!

If I’m trying to decide between submitting original content or altered reposted content to Huff Po OR some local or small magazine that pays $50, I choose the magazine. Most people know by now that almost anyone can be published on a site like Huffington Post while even small magazines have editorial standards and require some bit of expertise in the area in which you’re writing. Further, that $50 that you get from the magazine can be used to buy ads on blogads or some other site. There’s more exposure to be had advertising on a low traffic but relevant-to-your-niche blog than there is by having a couple posts on a crowded site.

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I like the HuffPo in some ways, but their business philosophy SUCKS and as it gains in popularity, it's freelancers who will get hit in the wallet and that doubly SUCKS. Huffington may be a hero to the Left, but she's also a cheapskate who screws over freelancers.
 

PinkAmy

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I was disappointed that she sold to AOL- I hope that it doesn't change.

Huffington has no problem getting writers for her site, why should she pay them if she's getting it for free? I don't think of her as a hero--she used to be a conservative republican. I think she's a good business person. Sure, it would be great if she paid freelancers, but I don't blame her for not.
 

Torrance

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Well isn't this all typical? Get people to believe that a party or a blog is the only thing standing between them and the evil corporations, rich guys, bible thumpers, etc... and then do them dirty just as soon as there is a buck to be made. It seems to me that Huffington has learned very well what it is to be "liberal". She surely can be liberal with the dollars these days. :D
 

Zoombie

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Not paying someone what they're owed goes against the fundamental principles of both the right and the left (who, as far as I see it, disagree more about what people are owed and what people are not owed).

You know what we call those people?

Swindlers! Fiends! Dastardly villains!
 

Don

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Gee, another supposed liberal champion of the oppressed and friend of the working man class proves to be a hypocrite.

Shocking. Who could have seen that coming? The AlGore and Michael Moore must be spinning in their graves.
 

MacAllister

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Yeah - there's a bit of backlash out there, and I'll be interested to see what happens if the lefties/progressives who've built and supported the site with their writing leave in droves, because they don't want to support AOL.

It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community, not just a web address.
 

Torrance

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Yeah - there's a bit of backlash out there, and I'll be interested to see what happens if the lefties/progressives who've built and supported the site with their writing leave in droves, because they don't want to support AOL.

It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community, not just a web address.

Well that's the real insult here, the community turns on Huffpo and it fails, does that hurt Arianna at this point? Nope. Who does it hurt? The poor bastards still trying to make a buck through an outlet which accepts their work.

AOL and Arianna have already come out and basically said, forget all of that "liberal" stuff. I think when you're walking around with a knife in your back, it's fair to contend that you've been stabbed in the back. Removal of Arianna would be a good move, but trashing the outlet... maybe, not.
 

Don

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It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community, not just a web address.
Wow. That's the best worst cautionary tale of a society destroyed by a governing body oblivious to the needs and demands of its citizens, and unanswerable for their actions that I've seen in some time, even down to killing the opposition (in this case, their electronic persona.)

And for it to occur in a forum with the stated intent it had... It makes me want to invoke the name of some non-existent diety.
 

rugcat

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It's a thing that's happened over and over on the web, when someone thinks they actually own an online community, not just a web address.
So, when are you getting rid of the mods? And if you delete all my posts, I'll be sad. I have several( perhaps even in the tens,) that are worth reading.
 

the bunny hugger

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It's a blog. It may be a big fancy profitable blog, but its still a blog. So the fact it comments on news rather than making it, and is mainly done by amateurs is severely non-suprising.
 

Don

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So, when are you getting rid of the mods? And if you delete all my posts, I'll be sad. I have several( perhaps even in the tens,) that are worth reading.
Ha! I've been keeping copies of my best ones since day one... just in case. :D
 

whacko

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It makes me want to invoke the name of some non-existent diety.

It's got to be John Lennon.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can


;)
 

Shadow Dragon

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A smart freelance writer should make sure there's a deal in place for payment before his work is put up on a site. And only trust places that he's either worked for before or have a stellar record among other writers.
 

leahzero

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How is AOL still in business?

That's the real question.

I think it may have something to do with folks like my BF's mother, who, despite having internet through a cable company, still pays AOL $20 a month for something I frankly don't understand (and I'm quite computer literate).
 
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That's the real question.

I think it may have something to do with folks like my BF's mother, who, despite having internet through a cable company, still pays AOL $20 a month for something I frankly don't understand (and I'm quite computer literate).

AOL is free.

Mom needs to call them and cancel that 20.

And she can still keep her AOL.

I still have AOL. Rarely use it. But it's free nonetheless.
 

MacAllister

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There's a thoughtful piece from James Moore, a longtime HuffPo blogger, here:
There has not been a moment since it launched when I have not wondered about Huffington Post and its impact on journalism. I was one of Arianna's early adopters. My second book had been released and she was creating a community that was likely to attract readers. There was no money involved but, if things went well, there were likely to be people getting exposure to what I thought and wrote. <snip>

I became even more confounded when I read about the sale of Huffington Post to AOL. First, much of the original appeal, for me, of Huffpo was its renegade nature. The blog was about writers, thinkers, and other smart people coming together and going directly to the audience without corporate influence. The goal was to draw readers, I assumed, and then to create revenue through ads and syndication. Money was always one of the essential motivators but does it become the prime mover with AOL corporate ownership? Arianna is issuing assurances to everyone that things are the same and there's just more of it. Still, skepticism abounds.

The second reason I struggle with Huffington Post is because of my friends working in journalism. Their work is their currency, how they pay the bills. And much of Arianna's model is built around the concept of getting people to work for free. Free does not keep the lights on or gas in the tank. I write for free for Huffington Post. I have never been paid, which means, in some regards, I am working for free in front of a big audience and competing with my friends who get paid by newspapers to reach a smaller crowd. If enough people act like me, my friends will not have jobs very long. (And yes, I know there are other economic issues for newspapers but that is not what I am discussing just now.) If I write for free, they are not in a fair fight for survival.
 

Don

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From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

At least she got half of it right.

:D
 

nighttimer

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I was disappointed that she sold to AOL- I hope that it doesn't change.

Huffington has no problem getting writers for her site, why should she pay them if she's getting it for free? I don't think of her as a hero--she used to be a conservative republican. I think she's a good business person. Sure, it would be great if she paid freelancers, but I don't blame her for not.

I do.
Indeed, the Huffington Post’s home-grown content, for the most part, has been especially notable for its low cost to Huffington: low as in free. Although some actual paid journalists work for the organization, her blogger network is an amazing achievement; she’s persuaded untold numbers of people to write for nothing, to have their names on the page as compensation for their labor. Exploitive? Sure, in a way, but let’s also recognize the fact that people want to put their stuff on the site. No one writes for the New York Times op-ed page for the money; it’s for the platform to spread ideas.

And, based on the email Huffington sent to her bloggers, that’s the model she plans to continue. Here’s part of that email:
Together, our companies will have a combined base of 117 million unique U.S. visitors a month — and 250 million around the world — so your posts will have an even bigger impact on the national and global conversation. That’s the only real change you’ll notice — more people reading what you wrote.
It’s hard to imagine something that sends a more dismissive message. Which is why I’m hoping that Huffington will recognize how this looks and then do the right thing: namely, cut a bunch of checks to a bunch of the most productive contributors on whose work she’s built a significant part of her new fortune. They’ve earned some of the spoils. I think Huffington is smart enough to know not just the PR value of doing this. And, and feel free to call me naive for saying this, I also think she’s wise enough to know why she should do it on more ethical grounds, too.


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I started out in 1992 writing for alternative and Black newspapers for free. I had no clips and I was a raw, not yet ready, wannabee writer. This is 2011. I'll be damned if I give away my stuff for free to millionaires who reassure me my work will now be available to an even wider audience. Meanwhile, Arianna gets paid even more and her contributors still have to grab some salt and eat their clips. It's called the HUFFINGTON Post, but Arianna wasn't the only person who made the site viable enough to demand over $300 million for it.

Nobody owes me a living. I have to earn it. Well, I've earned the right as a damn good writer who's paid his dues to expect some compensation for my talents. Quality costs and if you place no value on your writing that's exactly what you'll be paid for it. I may be a freelancer, but that doesn't mean I write for free.

Alec Baldwin can afford to give his stuff to the HuffPo for nothing. I need a check. No pay, no play.

I like the HuffPo in some ways, but their business philosophy SUCKS and as it gains in popularity, it's freelancers who will get hit in the wallet and that doubly SUCKS. Huffington may be a hero to the Left, but she's also a cheapskate who screws over freelancers.

Maybe once upon a time she couldn't pay her freelancers. That time is done.

Huffington "wrote" a book called Pigs At the Trough. As greedy as she is, she should have included herself among them.

I'm not interested in working on Miss Arianna's plantation.
 
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PinkAmy

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Not paying someone what they're owed goes against the fundamental principles of both the right and the left (who, as far as I see it, disagree more about what people are owed and what people are not owed).

You know what we call those people?

Swindlers! Fiends! Dastardly villains!
But if the policy is not paying for freelance, nobody is owed anything. Writers are consciously choosing the work under those conditions. They have a choice.
 

katiemac

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Huffington has built a $300 million media empire off the backs of people who write for free.
nighttimer said:
I like the HuffPo in some ways, but their business philosophy SUCKS and as it gains in popularity, it's freelancers who will get hit in the wallet and that doubly SUCKS. Huffington may be a hero to the Left, but she's also a cheapskate who screws over freelancers.
It's a blog. It may be a big fancy profitable blog, but its still a blog. So the fact it comments on news rather than making it, and is mainly done by amateurs is severely non-surprising.

I've always thought of it as a glorified community blog. Maybe I'm wrong in that perception. Nor am I going to say it's okay not to pay freelancers, but I do agree there's a choice on the writer's side to work for free.

But Huffington Post is (was?) a start-up company. It became profitable for the first time in October 2010. The $300 million didn't only come from "the backs of people who write for free." They have an entire staff in editing, research, sales, marketing, web design and human resources who haven't been working for free, but who have been working to keep the company afloat and make sure there is a platform for the writing to exist in the first place.

Maybe it should rethink the paying writers now its becoming profitable. Or even with the buyout, maybe it still can't afford to. It'll be interesting to see where it stands a year from now.
 
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Torrance

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Huffington may be a hero to the Left..."

Why exactly? Is it because she had some sort of an epiphany? She may very well be a plagiarist, so I have no idea why writers of all people would see her as any kind of a hero. What she is, is an opportunist. She is sickeningly insincere and frankly, people that change their spots a la Arianna Huffington, are never truly worthy of trust.

I'm not interested in working on Miss Arianna's plantation.

People who write for the Huffpo and do it for nothing, have an agenda... it's about getting their name out there. They are not forced into servitude. The equivocation is obscene and diminishes slavery.
 

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