Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

This house shall not stand

I can be terribly naïve sometimes. When Arianna Huffington made her first great tergiversation, renouncing the right-wing media of which she had long been a part to accuse the right of “bamboozling” her and start a left-wing publication in the form of a nascent Huffington Post, I scoffed at my conservative friend Sqreater, who rightly perceived her political sea-change as an act designed to promote her own career, for I felt a sense of vindication in her seeming conversion and chose to accept it as genuine.

#Huffpuff vs. AOL-HuffingtonPost

#Huffpuff vs. AOL-HuffingtonPost: Do big bad wolves eat AOLPo?
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This is a mistake I hereby vow never to repeat (after all, it’s much more interesting to make new mistakes). Henceforth, I will not credit professions of moral epiphany on the part of rightists who have made a career of ridiculing my convictions; I will view those who make them as latter-day “Saint” Pauls, “converted” on their own roads to Damascus by an opportunity to seize something new and fair and make of it a venal vehicle to deliver its newfound professed adherents to the pinnacles of power and fortune.

The omens, of course, have been gathering for years now. What was six years ago an unabashedly political site has since mutated into yet another celebrolatrous mainstream media outlet, seduced perhaps by its own apparent success in attracting more readers by adding such fluff. And the analysis contained in much of the site’s news section has gradually moved center-/rightward, with the addition of a number of right-of-center columnists such as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whose invective against Barack Obama from the right could easily be featured on Newsmax.com alongside the lurid fantasies of Judith Miller.

But this has not deterred thousands of unpaid bloggers, who have continued throughout to do their idealistic best for the HuffPo, only to discover that the site that they have made so dramatic a success story for left-of-center journalism is now to be sold out — quite literally — to the distinctly right-of-center AOL media conglomerate. (I can attest to this: When I first used the internet, in the early 1990s, I was an AOL customer, and I used the provider again briefly in 2000-2002. Since with every new version, my homepage reverted to the AOL homepage until I reset it again, I became more familiar with AOL’s politics than I had wanted, and I will never forget signing in one day in mid-2001 to read a towering headline: “They said THAT? Defend President Bush!” That told me precisely how neutral a provider I was really dealing with.)

Today, those bloggers are faced with a decision: Knuckle under, or leave.

If they elect to continue providing content (and this assumes the AOLPo will want it), bloggers can expect little from their erstwhile publisher; Huffington has already made clear her disinterest in fighting for a left-leaning political element in her new media satrapy. And they may be sure of one thing: No investigative attention will be turned by Huffington’s “journalists” on her parent company: AOL will get a pass. So: no credit, no pay, no respect: This seems to be what’s in store for those who stay.

Therefore, many former HuffPo writers will now be looking for other outlets for their work. This page, at adbusters.org, offers a number of suggestions that are worth examining, both for bloggers and readers in search of genuine progressive content.

On a related subject, this essay is among the first posted on my own Moralintelligence.net, whose purpose is to articulate a progressive thesis with particular attention to the moral/ethical aspects of political behavior. Writers are welcome, likewise digital artists and programmers who can help me implement features to make the site interactive and open to contributions from the public. Topping my needs list, however, is someone capable of creating a Flash presentation as an introduction to the site.

If you want to help show Arianna Huffington that her second tergiversation puts her squarely against the current of history, leave the AOLPo for the dogs. Read and write for publications operated by genuine, lifelong progressives who’ve never profited by association with the enemy. And let me know if you’d like to help build Moralintelligence.net into a journal beholden to no one save its own members.

Originally published as a review of a consortiumnews.com article on the HuffingtonPost sellout.

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