When I first heard of the AOL/Huffington Post merger, one of my first thoughts was that Arianna was taking on a huge responsibility and wondered if her experience running Huffpo would really qualify her for the role she grabbed. As regular readers know, I am not a huge fan of Arianna and think she is just an opportunist who took advantage of the anger and hatred towards Bush to build an empire. I know I was sucked into her world back in the Bush days, but it didn’t take me too long to realize that her empire was about making money and the anger just shifted from President Bush to President Obama. Arianna and her brain trust have gradually shifted who their target audience is away from the liberal base she built her site on. She seems to be aiming at some of that Tea Party money from what I can tell. Her book is a blatant appeal to that populist crowd, lots of platitudes and describing of the problem and no solutions or realistic consideration of how to change any of it. Like how to get a bill passed in the current US legislature.
So I take some pleasure in seeing that things aren’t going so well with the AOL/Huffington Post merger. The Business Insider has an article that breaks down the troubles throughout the organization, but I’m most interested in Arianna’s role. From the Business Insider…
Fear and paranoia. Large parts of the org recognize the strategy is bad for the business but everyone is afraid to speak out. Arianna is rumored to have created an enemies list across the company and has directed her loyalists to collect dossiers on other managers across the company and report back on conversations. Her list includes several key business, sales, technology, and marketing executives she wants to eliminate and replace with her people. Anyone who disagrees, even if backed by data and clear rationale’s – goes on the enemies list. Facts don’t matter.
It sounds like she really knows how to manage a large organization and motivate people. More from the Business Insider…
Imperial over-reach. AOL will eliminate Popeater and Parentdish this month and roll them into the Huffington Post. Arianna’s people are plotting to eliminate all non huffingtonpost.com websites and redirect all traffic to the huffingtonpost.com. No one thinks consolidating to huffingtonpost.com is a good idea from a consumer or an advertiser perspective, but no one will stop Arianna.
And the last thing I’ll throw out there about this is that apparently the Huffington Post folks that came along with Arianna, Roy Sekoff and Nico Pitney are having some troubles transitioning to managing a much larger organization.
It is the Peter Principle on a grand scale. None of AOL’s senior editors (Huffington, Roy Sekoff, and Nico Pitney) have ever managed more than a few people. Now they have hundreds and lack the experience to manage a team this big. Behind the scenes, long time Huffposters say that Jai Singh’s departure has eliminated the key adult in the room. Now they need to grow HuffPost and save AOL – not possible.
I used to have the Huffington Post as my home page on my browser – years ago, before it went down hill. The only time I visit there now is if I click on a blind link or there is a story that I just have to read based on a recommendation. I clicked one too many times on a misleading headline that took me to a reposted story from some other source with an ad that pops up or plays before I can see the content. I felt so used by her. And I really don’t give a shit what Kim, Khloe or Kourtney Kardashian did last night.
This is a post I put up a while back that I decided to dust off and share with you all again in light of the completion of Arianna’s Scam, AOL paying her $315 Million dollars for her Huffington Post website (don’t go there). The original headline read “The Huffington Post, A Stolen Idea!.” I’ve also put links to other posts I’ve done about her below.
Arianna with her buddy Newt Gingrich
Politico has a long piece up about a lawsuit brought by two Democratic consultants, Peter Daou and James Boyce which claims that the idea for The Huffington Post was stolen from them. A while back, I did some research into Arianna Huffington and came across some rather revealing things about Arianna and her MO. The most glaring of these was her teaming up with Newt Gingrich in the early 90’s to help bring about Gingrich’s Republican Revolution, oh and apparently she’s still hanging with him. I’m old enough to remember that bullshit and have always been skeptical of Huffington and see her as an opportunist. Her new book, no plug here, attempts to play on people’s fears about the economic crisis. I hope to find time to write about that soon, she’s been not so subtly appealing to the angry people in the country….there’s money to be made on that anger, you know? From the Politico piece…
The complaint is a direct challenge to the left’s most important media property from two stalwarts of the progressive movement. And it challenges Huffington’s own oft-told story of coming up with the idea in conversation with Lerer and other friends.
“Huffington has styled herself as a ‘new media’ maven and an expert on the effective deployment of news and celebrity on the Internet in the service of political ends,” says the complaint. “As will be shown at trial, Huffington’s and Lerer’s image with respect to the Huffington Post is founded on false impressions and inaccuracies: They presented the ‘new media’ ideas and plans of Peter Daou and James Boyce as their own in order to raise money for the website and enhance their image, and breached their promises to work with Peter and James to develop the site together.”
It certainly doesn’t surprise me to read this, that’s what Republicans are all about, making money on the backs of other people. It completely fits with her opportunistic MO. She is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Every time I hear her introduced as a liberal, I do a spit take with my coffee or Lipton Diet Green Tea…and we all know how painful that can be. She is no liberal, she just shifted her “mark” to liberals. She saw the pendulum swinging away from conservatism with the election of George W. Bush and saw a great opportunity to capitalize on it. Recently, it seems she is jealous of all the money Glenn Beck and his sorts are making off the anger on the right. I see her book as a blatant appeal to those people, she want’s some of that money too. More from Politico…
Lerer, a former AOL executive who once worked as a spokesman for junk bond king Michael Milken, later involved other Internet gurus – the marketing expert Jonah Perretti, and Drudge collaborator Andrew Breitbart – in their launch, and Daou and Boyce aren’t the first to contest the Huffington Post’s lineage.
“I created the Huffington Post,” Breitbart told Wired in March, prompting Huffington to reply that he “wasn’t present” for the initial 2004 meeting.
Can you even fucking believe it, Breitbart was there at the start of The Huffington Post. Now that speaks volumes in my mind. Andrew Fucking Breitbart working with Arianna, and of course this is after she supposedly saw the light and became more progressive….cough, spit. I remember seeing her talk on C-SPAN in the early 2000’s and thinking, wow, a conservative who’s seen the light and grown. As I continued to watch her speak, I had a sense about her that she was slippery. She talked around a lot of issues, was very slick in her appeal to liberals, playing on their dislike for George W. Bush, using clever put downs of him to gain acceptance. I have to admit, I was digging what she was saying, I disliked ole’ W. about as much as anyone. But even then, I was cautious because of her slickness. It was only after I started getting pissed off at the misleading headlines on her site that I started doing some digging and discovered the above links.
Booman, who was the source of the Politico link above, wonders why The Huffington Post is considered left…
Is the Huffington Post the “left’s most important media property”? Really? Because I have never opened the Huffington Post unless directed there by someone else. I have almost never linked to them (probably less than a dozen times in six years). I don’t think I’ve ever been to their home-page. I think if they were really so important, I’d find I couldn’t blog effectively without knowing what was going on there. But, for the most part, the Huffington Post doesn’t even exist for me. It’s like the Drudge Report. I know it exists, and occasionally someone points out to me that they have some interesting material, but that’s it. And why is the Huffington Post considered a left-leaning site? I don’t consider Arianna Huffington to be left-leaning. She’s a critic of President Bush and the current brand of know-nothing politics of the right. But she’s certainly no liberal. Above all, she’s a business woman and a celebrity. She’s not a part of any movement I am aware of. I’m not knocking her, but I just don’t get why her site is supposed to be important to the left. For what?
I used to frequent her website until I noticed a change in course and their turning on the President. I was often sucked into the misleading headlines which many times didn’t reflect was in the actual article, a blatant bait and switch of sorts. She is very good at making money off people’s emotions, I suspect she will continue to do well in that regard. I just won’t be a part of it.
Here are some links to other posts I’ve done about The Huffington Post, Arianna inspired me. There is something about a conservative trying to act like a liberal that pisses me off, for some reason.