Archive for the ‘Arianna Huffington’ Category

Arianna Huffington Reloaded

June 18, 2011

As you may have guessed from my last couple of posts, I’m in the mood for hating on Arianna Huffington. I could talk about how her website, The Huffington Post habitually refers to Hugo Chavez as a “dictator”, or how it’s filled with inane celebrity gossip, or how it tirelessly promotes Sarah Palin and her family. (When Palin’s husband won a fishing contest, the HuffPo featured an article about it.) Instead, I’m going to talk about what Huffington really cares about: money.

The Newspaper Guild and the National Writers Union have called upon bloggers not to contribute to the Huffington Post, until it agrees to pay them. This is what is known as a strike. So far, Huffington has refused to meet with the union leaders about this. It appears that Mrs. Huffington doesn’t like people telling her how to run her plantation.

It’s not a new thing for companies to try to get people to do things for no pay. I remember when I was working for Universal Studios, they were always trying to get employees to “volunteer” to do things, such as construct a float for the Tournament of Roses Parade. HuffPo has, however, carried this to a new level, because it was built upon unpaid labor, a fact acknowledged by the site’s new owner, AOL:

    In a Forbes magazine article, AOL executives were quoted as saying that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong “talked a lot about the importance of recruiting hordes of free bloggers…. “It was always, ‘Arianna does it. That’s what she’s built her business on. Why don’t we do it, too?’” says a former AOL editor-in-chief.”

This is what makes the HuffPo so poisonous. People see what Huffington has done, and they get the idea that maybe they too can make money by not paying people. This idea becomes like a cancer that spreads.

The Confederacy was abolished over 140 years ago, but the struggle for unpaid labor goes on.

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Arianna Huffington

February 22, 2011

Silly me. All these years I assumed that people who wrote for the Huffington Post were getting paid. Now I find out that many of them haven’t received one plug nickel. And Arianna Huffington has just sold the HuffPost for $315 million dollars. The HuffPost’s writers are a little steamed about this, and I can’t say that I blame them. It’s kind of like volunteering for a soup kitchen, and then someone sells it to a restaurant chain. I must say, Huffington got an awful lost of surplus value out of these people’s labor. Perhaps not coincidentally, Huffington is considered an authority on corporate greed.

I’ve always been wary of Huffington. I highly recommend reading Peter Camejo’s account of Huffington’s shifty behavior during the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election in his memoir, North Star. She first tried to get Camejo to drop out of the race and endorse her. Then eventually she dropped out herself and threw her support behind the discredited Gray Davis. All of which merely facilitated Schwarzenegger’s victory.

I remember when Huffington went by the name of Arianna Stassinopoulos. She wrote a biography of Pablo Picasso, which I once made the mistake of trying to read. It takes a peculiar type of genius to make someone like Picasso seem dull. It was around this time that Graham Greene said of her, “So boring, you fall asleep half-way through her name.” I usually find her columns in the HuffPost soporific. She talks about self-help advice and about going on expensive vacations with her family. I guess you can afford to do stuff like that when you’re not paying people who work for you.

I think the HuffPost writers need to pull a Wisconsin.