Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Huffington Post: Just like slave owners

Over at When Falls the Coliseum, I wrote a little piece about an LA Times editorial regarding the sale of Huffington Post to AOL. You can read the whole thing here. A little bit:

You might have heard about the Huffington Post being sold to AOL for around $315 million. The internet was "virtually queefing" about it yesterday. Unfortunately, now that the vaginal farts have stopped and the dust has settled, we're getting the slavery metaphors.

Huffington Post runs its organization like an "antebellum plantation." Now, I can't take credit for that particular bit of wordsmithery -- that comes from the mighty keyboard of a man named Tim Rutten who works for a real news organization, The Los Angeles Times. In an editorial with the cutesy-poo title AOL ♥ HuffPo. The loser? Journalism, Mr. Rutten isn't afraid to lay it all on the line:
The other partner to this dubious arrangement is the Huffington Post, which is a new-media marvel of ingenuity, combining a mastery of editing geared to game the search engines that stimulate Web traffic and overhead that would shame an antebellum plantation. The bulk of the site's content is provided by commentators, who work for nothing other than the opportunity to champion causes or ideas to which they're devoted. Most of the rest of the content is "aggregated" — which is to say stolen — from the newspapers and television networks that pay journalists to gather and edit the news.
Huffington Post is a news aggregator that has engendered some resentment for its business practices. Basically, Huffington Post is Reader's Digest for liberals on the internet. They condense stories from other sources, and readers get the gist of the story without having to actually leave Huffington Post.

The difference is that Reader's Digest pays for what it condenses. So, yes, Huffington Post can be likened (metaphorically) to thieves.

Reader's Digest also pays its contributors. Huffington Post doesn't. That, in Tim Rutten's eyes, makes the moral equivalent to antebellum plantation owners. The people who owned slaves. It's a striking metaphor, particularly during the month of February, when we're all encouraged to remember and honor the accomplishments of black Americans.

For some reason, I could not get wordpress to recognize the "♥" in the LA Times editorial headline. Is that a problem with me?

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