Why I've Removed My Journalism from Huffington Post

By Al Giordano

From September 2007 to August 2009 I crossposted 26 of my stories to The Huffington Post, mostly about US politics. Most of those stories were cheerfully featured by HuffPo editors on their publication's front page. But, as time went on, I grew uncomfortable with how that website was transparently becoming more and more sensationalist, cult-of-personality generated, and with my sense that it was pandering to panic and poutrage in order to boost hit counts, and so I lost interest in posting there anymore.

Well, now we can see why HuffPo went in that direction.

After reading media accounts last night that Arianna Huffington had sold her online publication to America Online (AOL) for $315 million US dollars, I woke up thinking, "oh, my... and now an association with the mega-corporation AOL is going to be imposed on me?"

Not so fast.

This morning I dug up my old HuffPo password and logged in to the control panel, where I was greeted with this breathless spin:

EXCITING NEWS - The Huffington Post has been acquired by AOL, instantly creating one of the biggest media companies in the world, with global, national, and local reach -- combining original reporting, opinion, video, social engagement and community, and leveraged across every platform, including the web, mobile, and tablets. Our bloggers have always been a very big part of HuffPost's identity - and will continue to be a very big part of who we are. The HuffPost blog team will continue to operate as it always has. Thank you for being such a vital part of the HuffPost family - which has suddenly gotten a whole lot bigger.
Maybe so. But that "family" (cough, cough) has simultaneously gotten a little bit smaller as a consequence. It took me all of 90 minutes this morning to erase all my content from Huffington Post and replace it with this message where the text had appeared on each of the 26 stories:
(As author and sole owner of the words in this story, I did not write them for AOL, and do not wish to have any association with it imposed upon me. The original text may still be found at http://narconews.com/thefield - Al Giordano, February 7, 2011)
This saga is, sadly, not the first or last case of a blogger or online renegade that ended up becoming swallowed by the very same inhuman mass media conglomeration that it claimed it had set out to oppose. Good luck to Huffington and company, but they'll have to cross back to the other side of the bridge without me.
 
And I can tell you this: As long as I live and breathe, this online newspaper - Narco News and its pages - will never be sold to a profit-making venture. That's because there is simply no way to obey the laws of advertising without compromising independence and edge. I don't care if "everybody else is doing it." Somebody has to set a higher standard around this water cooler called the Internet. Once again, it seems that it has to be us. We survived the first dot-com boom-and-bust a decade ago. And, as before, while others who went for the money will likely lose their independence and credibility, if not their existence, we'll outlive this one, too. 

Comments

HP sells out

One merger always leads to another buyout.
Is Rupert Murdoch already reaching for his wallet to buy out the new normal HP when the time is right.?
Bet on it, especially since Huffington Post relies heavily on 6,000 bloggers (freelancers) who work for free. And Mr. Murdoch likes free labor just as much as Arianna Huffington likes them. Journalism continues to die.

AOL eats HuffPo

I am in complete and total agreement with your stance and philosophy: likewise a survivor of the first dot.com puffery, it seems to be re-emerging as yet another balloon full of hot/co-opted air.

M

hang in there

more power to you, Al.  that's why we come here.  and why i make a monthly contribution, a subscription of sorts.  it's worth it.

p.s. one issue is my username/password never works.  constantly needs to be reset, and that hassle ends up keeping me from commenting.  i've tried several times and it just never sticks...

Good for you Al!

Good for brother! That's why I continually come here. I really appreciate and respect your analysis on U.S. politics! Your a rare breed my freind! :) I wish you were on more here in the U.S. radio and/r T.V.!

Well done

Thank you pal and I know the kid will welcome your stand. He's out there in the "Land called America."

Good On U, Bro. !

I believe that time cannot exist without change and without change time has no meaning (Thank you, Allvin Toffler, Future Shock - 1970).

As you did, Al, I noticed HP's gradual then ever more rapid move toward sensationalism and visited there less and less often. Their uniqueness was fading fast.

So, with this change that time and circumstance have wrought, AOL buying HP, I also made a change when I read the news today on Excite, Yahoo or wherever and deleted HP from my Firefox bookmarks.

In my opinion, there are plenty of purely profit oriented business models existant on the Web today and I harbor no ill thoughts or wishes to them for taking the route that they have taken.

I'll stick with you and a few other objectively reporting sites until either these sites change or I do. :- )

Huffington Post

Dear Al,

Thank you for your high standards and courageous stand. I've always believed the saving grace of the internet was that it was free (despite the modem fee I pay Comcast every month) to everyone to voice their opinion and experiences in exactly the words they meant to use. An association with AOL can only dilute content and intent. I will keep my on The Field for unbridled content. Thanks for your work in this regard.

Keith Sikes

AOL

I suspect that this site will be around longer than AOL, at least in the form AOL is in now.  AOL reminds me a little of the 70s record labels like Sussex and ABC that got consolidated and reconsolidated by so many companies over the years that they became unrecognizable. 

Al, I can't resist asking you your take on citizen journalism in Tunisia and Egypt (and elsewhere in the Middle East) this winter.  What comparisons might you make to the events of Honduras and Iran the past couple of years?  Any new lessons we might take about disseminating information in the future?

thank you for this Al

I understand your position and respect it immensely.

Huff 'n Puff

Thanks Al for your response to the "news" that Huff sold Puff to AOL. I'm glad you got your stories outta there.

Keeping it real out here in The Field.

Time to $upport our future. Join me in a round of donations to the Fund.

Never underestimate the power of the moral stand

Never underestimate the power of the "lone" moral stand. The statement of the singular individual means a lot in the face of a homogeonous "Borg" mentality. The internet is almost becoming and reflecting the almost instantaneous communication of the power of thought. Technology is only ever as good as the biological hands it is lying in.

News fixing...

News ain't what it used to be...

News has become an addiction. If people can't get their fix with premium grade News, and they largely can't, they'll make do with the cheap, dangerous, high risk / low reward stuff. Today's news stories don't inform as much as they steer the senses toward enabling fatalist passivity. They numb the reader's capacity to act upon reality-based challenges, and inflame the deflected passion and wherewithal with fictionalized dramas and opinionated circumvolution. News has been migrating massively into Fantasia Land, an all too efficient processing "power" plant and convenient repository for "top-down" hidden or upfront agendas.

Today's Journalism offers opiated serendipitous panacea where once upon a time was slaughtered mercilessly a few for any, any for a few, deleterious causality.

Printed news used to be bottom-up parsing of toiling realism ...inked on a main stream grid. An Orson Welles sort of proposition. There was nothing fictional about the life-sustaining rumble of the Printing Press, the dawning aroma of freshly laid ink on column aligned prints, the pounding hearts and running sweat of on-beat news "cops", and the methodical symbiotic run-time of the two-legged, two-wheeled "delivering", microcosm editorializing, hearty boy next door... And how it made for great non-fiction story-telling of the uplifted and of the downtrodden, in a budding construct of democratic ideals.

Orson Welles would simply be sliced, diced, and priced out of this synapses-interfering news world. This is henceforth Murdoch's back-room/board-room siamese either money-or-news machine. From ground hogging street-wise awareness, to on-tweet Tinsletown's "bad news is good news-good news is bad news" meme, Millennium Journalism aims to cross the Rubicon into dopamine territory, into "try it, it'll grow on ya" beta-news consumerism, into paralleloid social geometry.

A new Paradigm indeed, a conglomerated Yin for a news stand... a neighborly Yang for the line in the sand...!

P.S. Originally posted on the internet under the pseudonym of berult and since then edited into the aforementioned rendering.

#huffpuff

http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/huff-puff-it-down.html

Arianna Huffington has betrayed us, so let's huff and puff her house down

She built a blog-empire on the backs of thousands of citizen journalists. She exploited our idealism and let us labor under the illusion that that the Huffington Post was different, independent and leftist. Now she's cashed in and three thousand indie bloggers find themselves working for a megacorp.

But the Huffington Post is not Arianna's to sell. It is ours: the lefty writers and readers, environmentalism activists and anti-corporate organizers who flooded the site with 25 million visits a month. So we're going to take it back.

We'll stop going to her site. And we'll stop blogging for her too. Then we'll give birth to an alternative to AOL's HuffPo by using the #huffpuff hash tag to tell the world about our favorite counter-culture websites and indie blogs.

We are the ones who built the Huffington Post. And now we will be the ones who will huff and puff it down.

http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/huff-puff-it-down.html

Fantastically articulated.

Fantastically articulated. Huffpo has seemed like the online "nancy grace show" for awhile. I will look forward to following you from here exclusively in the future.

Schadenfreude?

Al's decision is not only laudable for his commitment to journalistic integrity, but it also is the smart thing to do.

AOL has been pathetic for years. They have survived simply because of technology fear and the inertia that engenders amongst their remaining customers. They are an incompetent, idiotic company and will doubtlessly mismanage HuffPost.

I predict that AOL will make a series of incredibly stupid, off-putting decisions that will lose them the majority of their bloggers who are working for free anyway and can just take their content elsewhere.

AOL will eventually go bust, taking Huff with them. Of course, Arianna will get to keep the cash that she got from the buyout.

Which is the point for her. Is anyone really surprised?


 

I too have grown tired of

I too have grown tired of Huffington Post. 

Often times I click on their titles expecting one story but when I read it... I get something else entirely. The sensationalism is out of control over there. And now that it's been sold to AOL I can imagine it will only get even worse.

The revolution will not be on HuffPo

You may be right, Al, and I trust your judgment.  Having said that, I wonder if HuffPo might change AOL more than the other way around - AOL is to online media what Newsweek is to dead tree media.  It's value has dropped but it still has legacy media connections and infrastructure that make it a good host for a new media giant.  Daily Beast was smart to buy Newsweek and its assets, and I think HuffPo might just revitalize some of the FAIL that is AOL.  Time Warner sure as heck didn't get it right!

Crazy People

...what *ARE* all you doorknobs frothing about?  I mean, we *ARE* talking about the same Huffington Post here, right?  The same Huffington Post who burns people's posts even faster than Hitler was burning books?  Honestly, if you ask me only *GOOD* things could come from this AOL merger, in that AOL has to really watch their Ps and Qs and can't just arbitrarily go around burning people's posts at random because they don't fit their personal little view of reality, not unless they want 38 shades of profit destroying public relations.

seriously? it took you all

seriously? it took you all this time to work out how big a crock of sh*t huffpost is?

better late than never i guess.

Huffpo sellout

Although I always knew Arianna was not a progressive I still visted the site and posted comments there until more and more of my leftist comments began to get censored. It became next to impossible to post negative comments about Reagan or Palin without having it  censored - while negative commenst about Obama were allowed.

 

This was because she was moving away from the progressive view and trying to attract conservatives.

 

Ms Huffington is not a progreesive nor a conservative - she is interested in only financial profits and I have alwasy said so. She is also a knee jerk basher of the president and her site always has huge fonts with headlines casting Obama in the worst possble light.

To her, politics is merely a commodity she uses for monetary gain and self-agrandizement.

 

I am not surprised she sold out. Her site had become useless to progressives because of all the draconian moderator censoring.

huffington post

I am all done with the Huffington Post and feel used. I should have known better.Look forward to seeing more of the truth at Narco News.

Here's an interesting

Here's an interesting photo from last months White House State Dinner for Hu Jintao - of Huffington Post Senior Editor Willow Bay with her arm wrapped around Disney CEO Robert Iger. I don't know, maybe she's like that with everyone. Follow the link and scroll to photo number five.

narconews

Way to go AL. Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining. Time to ring in the new. Out with the old fluff(po). I've bookmarked the page and am ready to assist you in bringin on a new, improved vision and news source, by being a faithful reader and poster. THANKS !

Huffpo History

I agree 100% Al .I posted my last post there tonight.Keep the faith Al!

peace

Integrity

Narco News- Congratulations on surviving getting your stuff out of HP.   I recognized that same pattern a while back when they started acting all Hollywoody puppetnazi.....

HP

  The Huffingtoon Post some time ago became an Internet version of a supermarket tabloid.

   Yes there were progressive articles and opinion pieces---interspersed with the kind of attention to celebrities and media you might expect from People magazine. 

 

 Its complete selling out was therefore not much of a shock.

 

 

Huff/AOL

I've written for Huffington Post almost since its inception....close to 80 columns to date!

As an American living in Europe, I submitted posts that were distinctively off-beat and often challenging.

I began to despair of HP as more and more space was devoted to frivolous ephemera -- entertainment, sports, celebrities, fashion, gossip, lifestyle.....

And increasingly, I ran into censorship: blogs that were considered too tough or not politically correct were simply passed over.

This merger with AOL sounds the death knell for what was once a vigorous, independent, progressive voice.  Faithful writers and faithful readers are sure to abandon the site.

 

Thanks Al!

Thanks for taking a stand, Al. Integrity!

A Citizen Journalist Site

If you are looking for a replacement geared towards citizen journalism you could try here:

http://www.theloneanalyst.com

Its a social news agency that wants to examine what the main stream media leaves out.  We will leave the activism to sites like Indymedia, whilst we focus on reporting and analysis.

huff

HuffPo was great - at first. Gradually, the comment censorship become more and more onerous, as they let rightwingers moderate the posts.  I always made comments that were pro-drug legalization, and they were often wiped completely, but then more people began making similar comments, and they realized they could run pot stories and get a lot of hits. As they ran more and more Hollywood type stories at the expense of real stories, I went there less and less. Now it a brief glance at the front page page is too much. The AOL lameness and stench clings to it.

 

Good for Mr. Giordano for having the courage of his convictions!

 

What Has Changed

HuffPo has been a bad publication for some time - how does it getting bought by a compact disc distribution company change anything?  You are cross posting articles you are already writting so its not costing you any extra time talent or treasure and you aren't getting paid - isn't it better to reach a readership unlikely to ever visit narconews?

Good on you mate! All the

Good on you mate! All the way in Melbourne, we feel the outrage, my first facebook update when I heard about it was - Can't believe I was so excited when this lady gave a TED talk...don't do it Arianna!!

Well, she did anyway.

huff-bust merger

thanks for allowing me to post a comment.  ive been a loyal huff reader for 3 years.  no more.  my wife and i lived in calif when ariana's then husband (who came out after) ran for the senate.  she was a republican then.  i enjoyed huff post, but my wise wife never drank the kool-aid.  she never trusted ariana, and now i have to admit she was right.  selling the huff is not the betrayal.  telling me that AOL is a legitimate partner is about as condescending a pile of bullshit as ive ever been fed.  i went to the AOL homepage.  what did I find?  looks like it was designed for the lowbrow tea partier.  if youre going to take over a shitty, ugly site, say so.  but dont lie to me about the meaning of the sale.  huff treated us all as fools.  that is the betrayal.  how could she think her readers would buy this pile of shit?  only way it works is if she saw us as marks in the 1st place.  ive deleted my account and bookmark.  i wont be returning.

Resisting Tempation

Having been in a similar position as Arianna Huffington (with numbers more than an order of magnitude less), I certainly understand the temptation. Fortunately, I realized what I was publishing was not for the money but because it needed to be done.

In the long run, selling out is going to less and less meaningful as sites such as NarcoNews continue to become the reliable sources of the information the people deserve to hear. I support your decision 100%.

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About Al Giordano

Biography

Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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