Huffington Post sells out to “Corporate Man”
Call it a convenient union. A youthful bride accepts a bid of $315 million. An older groom cuts the fat corporate check and legally takes ownership. Is this a fairytale or the true story of the marriage between the Huffington Post and AOL?
Since 2005, the Huffington Post was known as a left leaning blog, built by citizen journalism and completely independent of corporate control.On February 7th, a dramatic shift and change in the HuffPo world took place when AOL purchased the popular progressive website for $315 million.The acquisition angered thousands of writers and readers who accuse co-founder Arianna Huffington of selling out to corporate media. Adbusters, a nonprofit anti-consumerist publication has launched a campaign encouraging writers and readers to boycott HuffPo and build a new independent news source.“I would like to see AOL Huffington Post completely crash and burn and I think there’s a lot of people that want to see that happen,” said Micah White, Adbusters contributing editor.Many describe the Huffington Post – AOL merger as scandalous backstabbing.A corporate conglomeration that critics argued goes against what Huffington Post always stood for.“This gets to the heart of what’s wrong with America right now which is that there is no organized voice against the corporations because the corporations keep buying the opposition. So this is really a crises moment for American journalism,” said White.The landscape of American journalism has drastically shifted since the 1980’s, as the number of media companies dwindled from over 50 to just six powerhouses. Experts say this has resulted in less diversity of views, more corporate control and the business of news requiring a profit for shareholders.Meanwhile, HuffPo and AOL executives say their media marriage is a benefit to news junkies and journalists. “This is an amazing merging of visions,” said Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief & cofounder of the Huffington Post“Today is a monumental day for us on strategy,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of AOLCountless contributing writers who made HuffPo the brand it is, say they refuse to work with Arianna-corp.“AOL has sponsors and if anyone writes anything negative about those sponsors that AOL isn’t really going to have a say in what’s on their websites? I find that hard to believe,” said Allison Kilkenny, a blogger of five-years for the Huffington Post.The majority of HuffPo bloggers, thousands of them, contributed content to HuffPo for free. Now many of those progressives have launched a Facebook campaign calling on Arianna Huffington to share profits with the people responsible for her blog’s success; a success that’s garnered 25 million monthly visitors.“This merger is the final nail in the coffin for me. With the influx of $315 million, if there was ever a time to start paying your contributors, it would be now,” said Kilkenny.