I don't know how many of you know this, but the Huff and Puff Post has a new owner. Don't know who? I'll give you a hint: You've got mail! Yes, Huffington Post has sold to AOL for a cool $315 million in cash. Hell, I'll let Huff and Puff Po themselves tell the story:
AOL has agreed to purchase The Huffington Post for $315 million, approximately $300 million of which will be paid in cash funded from cash on hand. The Huffington Post is privately owned by its two cofounders, as well as a group of investors. The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of government approvals. The boards of directors of each company and shareholders of The Huffington Post have approved the transaction.And just as HuffPo's owners make out with $315 million, AOL is eliminating 900 jobs, partly thanks to this very bonanza for the Huff and Puff Post:
NEW YORK – AOL said Thursday it will slash 900 jobs worldwide, or nearly 20 percent of its work force, partly to eliminate overlap that stems from its recent purchase of The Huffington Post.Huffington Post celebrated this acquisition by announcing a ramped up corporate team as their "contributors," but do you know what they have to say about this AOL layoff? Nothing, except the syndicated AP report. That's right. A website famous for its opinions and "fighting" cojones has nothing original to say about its new corporate overlords laying people off. The so-so friend of the working people and "progressive" journalists at the Huffington Post have nothing original to say about the fact that working people are going to lose their jobs so that they can have their $315 million. I guess you don't want to say anything that might rock the boat, so to speak, as far as your new corporate owners are concerned.
About 200 of the cuts are from AOL's content and technology departments in the U.S. The remaining 700 are at AOL's offices in India, which mainly provide back-office support to the U.S. But AOL spokesman Graham James said 300 of those will move to other companies, which are taking over support functions.
After all, we shouldn't expect a site like Huffington Post to really care about people who work for a living. This isn't me saying it. Just look at how Huff and Puff Post brags about their own reach:
The Huffington Post over-indexes on educated, affluent users, reaching the key decision makers in C-suites around the globe.Oh, I see. C-suites. And us poor schlobs thought they would somehow support the poor and the middle class. Stupid us. Bravo, Huffington Post. Or perhaps I should say: Bravo the brand new, corporate owned, Huffington Post Media Group (ooh, sounds elite, don't you think?).
In all seriousness, this should open the eyes of anyone who ever thought of The Huffington Post as anything different from media outlets simply looking for corporate cash. This should wake up anyone who thinks that the Huff and Puff Po is some sort of a "progressive" news organization that cares about working people. It should take away any illusion that The Huffington Post is anything other than the new corporate media, essentially the same as the old corporate media. And it should at the very least break down any illusion that it is somehow "independent" or provides any perspective independent of its corporate masters.
Now I wonder if any of the True Progressives (TM) will come out and say anything about this. I wonder if any of the ideologically pure faux-gressives will have the courage to call HuffPo out on this. I wonder if the other big blogs claiming to represent the Left will make an issue out of this. I wonder if any of them care that in order to have their friends at HuffPo make out like bandits, 200 Americans and 900 workers across the world will lose their livelihoods. Nah. It's not like there's an angle to this story that allows you to scream at Obama or anything.
Update: From Daily Kos commenter "New Rule", this piece of truth is also revealed: as Ms. Huffington has railed against corporate exploitation of labor, she herself has been notorious for benefiting from paying nothing or next to nothing to her own personal laborers, I mean writers.
Chicago Tribune RedEye columnist Stephen Markley nails itNice, huh? Arianna is not just the finest example in me-fist-screw-you corporatism, she is also a first rate emulator of high class corporate exploitation of her own employees.
As a guest on everything from Bill Maher’s show to NPR’s “Intelligence Squared,” she makes this fabulous critique of American capitalism while cultivating a substantial fortune by using the exact same techniques as McDonald’s, Wal-Mart or any neighborhood kingpin drug dealer: She exploits a vast pool of cheap—or in her case, utterly free—labor. The acquisition of HuffPo also is the catalyst for the recent layoffs of 900 employees at AOL, The Associated Press reports.
But Huffington is exactly right when she says that there are plenty of writers willing to take the place of those who quit or try to strike.
...Huffington has made a name for herself decrying the hollowing out of the middle class in her book “Third World America,” yet the writers she finds so completely replaceable are the same working and middle class for which she espouses so much sympathy.
Take it from me: There is no money in writing anymore.
I’m probably in the top 10 percent of places young writers would like to be—published book, a column in RedEye—and let’s just say I’m a frequenter of the Ramen noodles isle at the grocery. Yet I know there are hordes of writers out there who would kick my kidneys in for the chance to have their name and picture above a column in one of the most widely circulated Chicago newspapers...