Over at Kos last weekend, one writer recommended supporting the writer’s strike against HuffPo. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Arianna Huffington got $315 million to take her blog and move over to AOL and into wrong-wing land. AOL is a major source of donations to Republicans. Mostly, HP writers, upon whom her popularity is based, got not one penny. They write for free and still do (if in fact they they moved over to AOL), but the already wealthy Arianna is considerably richer. Something is rotten in Huffington Land. And the paid celebrities she has hired do not account for the huge take Arianna gets from this sale. She essentially treated her entire cast of volunteers as if they were furniture to be handed over to AOL without any effort at consensus.
And though the purported progressive bent of HuffPo had leaned to right-of-center in recent months, many of us have long criticized HP for its blind acceptance of wrong-wing frames, excessive prioritization of pop culture, aggregating and republishing work from elsewhere (at least they pay for it), and running too many one-paragraph stories for a blog of its “stature” and popularity. And it is popular. With about 13 million unique visitors, its readership is not shabby by any means. Why not mobilize a contingent of them to cause a little boycott pain to ultimately get fairness for HP’s writers?
One week ago, I thought I could do it. That was then. After that, each and every day I thought I could go cold turkey from Huffington Post. But, in this week of wrong-wing lunacy, and ongoing threats against our population by the errant GOP, I am afraid I failed. Geek that I am, I only occasionally read entertainment and tabloid stuff. The lion’s share of my time is spent on the news, politics, business and media sectors. But, damn, even they are addictive! No matter how I fuss about GOP-negatively framed headlines, I keep going back for more. It’s pitiful, I admit.
I had planned to write something on whether we should boycott the old Huff. I even told Lokell I would write something about this. There I was turning on my iPad at the breakfast table, sipping my iced tea (yeh, iced tea in the morning) and being unable to pass over the big “H” when deciding which app to open. And as I opened up my iPad each AM, I realized how hypocritical it would be for me, failing in my own personal resolve, to bid anyone else to do so. What’s a blog junkie to do? I managed to stay away only half of one day! 🙁
The Writers’ Guild has urged Huffington bloggers to stop providing services. There’s a Facebook page here urging everyone to avoid the Big Green Aggregator. But you don’t have to join the FB effort. On your own you can boycott Huffington Post. I hope you can do it. I am working on it. I will keep trying. What are your thoughts?