April 17, 2012

Arianna the unethical and illiberal

People who want examples of Arianna Huffington both being unethical and not being that liberal need read no further than this excellent Columbia Journalism Review article. Among its items of note:

1. Andrew Brietbart in at the foundation of HuffPost;
2. Long before plagiarism of newspaper stories, she was sued, back in the U.K., for plagiarism in a Maria Callas bio;
3. Outsourcing coding for the HuffPost website to places like Ukraine and South America;
4. The fact that, for early "pushers" at HuffPost, "stickiness" mattered more than either content quality or design quality.

There is plenty more. There's one more point, on the illiberal side. The bloggers who sued her after the AOL merger should have seen that something like that was the business plan all along. We're in the Net.com world, the next step past dot.com, and probably waiting for a similar bubble to burst.

And, beyond unethical and illiberal, the CJR story also raises the question about how munch she really may not be about "ideas." Her move from the National Review, itself,  isn't indicative of that. David Brock did that, and it's clear he IS a person about "ideas."

But, she had little in the way of deep ideas then or now. Rather, it's about "stickiness," and having people who know more about the web than her make the stickiness happen.

I personally, as a secular humanist and skeptic, have other reason to question her "depth." Her long-term interest in "spirituality" seems to be of the flighty, New Agey variety. If there's a core to her, it probably starts there.

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