15 February 2011

Arianna Huffington - The Greek Tycoon: “Greed Is Good”

Part Twenty-Seven

As a Huffington Post contributor, I was invited [self, above] on FOX Business News on Valentines Day to Interview live with David Asman on Nightly Scoreboard, to discuss the recent acquisition of The Huffington Post by AOL. Even the media is dumbfounded to learn that while Arianna Huffington has been building her website and reputation over the past five years----she has never paid any of her writers.

I don’t know who Arianna has been consulting as of late, or how many times she’s watched “Wall Street,” but it’s obvious her new mantra is, “Greed Is Good.”

This sale of The Huffington Post to AOL last week for $315 million, has caused a backlash throughout journalism, because she, without conscience, profited off the backs of her free labor. The 6,000 dedicated, progressive, professional writers, who over the past five years were responsible for transforming the former wife of a U. S. Senator----into a Greek Tycoon.

The sale, coming off the heels of her latest book about America becoming a Third World country is ironic, as she treated her devoted writers no better than a boiler room operation in Taiwan.

These are the very writers whose quality of content has brought credibility to The Huffington Post. This year Harvard University has accepted the publication as a viable web news source, including its credentials among the categories of national newspaper and magazines for its Investigative Journalism award; The Worth Bingham Prize, in which I’ve submitted my series of soldiers diagnosed with Cancer post-Iraq.

It’s unthinkable that her father, a newspaper publisher himself, would have instilled in his daughter that when she builds her own publishing empire---to be sure she stick her Manolo Blahnik heels into the back of her writers---as she climbs her way to the top.

In good faith, Arianna Huffington should have included in her February 7th “contributors” E-mail, that out of the $315 million sale, she would be cutting each of the 6,000 free laborers a check of $1,000, as a thank you [still an insult, but at least it would have been an effort of gratitude]. It would have totaled to $6 million dollars---and still would have had $309 million left.

The writers are what made the publication what it is today, and what made her a valuable commodity. So to think she’ll stuff her mattress with $300 million in cash, while her own stable of writers lay their head on a pillow of poverty is unfathomable and ruthless.

And to assume that selling her lot of slaves aboard “The Grecca” AKA The Huffington Post, to the conservative billion dollar corporation AOL, where they would continue to provide content for free----puts her in the category of Wall Street execs shafting the middle class. And it is the ultimate act of betrayal and exploitation to her servants of news.

This buy-out may have been a shrewd business move in the boardrooms of corporate America---but it has solidified the new tier in the landscape of America’s Workforce---two levels below interning and volunteer work is now exploitation and free labor. The former six levels, will now be seven. Beginning at the bottom; exploitation/free labor, volunteer work, internships, minimum wage, high school diploma, college degree and Masters. This hierarchy of the American work force and age discrimination will saturate journalism with inexperienced mediocrity, and abolish the strife our colleagues suffered at picket lines over a half-century ago when they demanded better wages and working conditions. Their steadfastness and courage for bettering the value of our craft has been usurped by this deal.

The only light on the horizon I see is moving to Asia where I can finally be paid by American corporations for the labor I provide. And I will do so willingly as a true American patriot, only marred by the Made in China tattoo stamped on the back of my hand.

© COPYRIGHT 2008, R. B. STUART. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction of this Blog in any form.

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07 February 2011

"Arianna Huffington Sells Lot of Slaves for $315 Million"

Arianna Huffington, Courtosy AP 10-10

Part Twenty-Six

As a contributor for The Huffington Post since 2008, I have posted 25 original content articles valued over $25,000 for free. So eager to have the platform for my soldiers stories, of U. S. soldiers returning from Iraq with Cancer ---I didn't ask for payment---merely handed over the 20 - 30 hours of reporting of each piece for gratis.

Over that period I had asked Arianna Huffington several times for financial support with this work, but after being referred to the D.C. based Huffington Post Investigative Fund as a candidate for payment---I was turned down, as well as by executive editor, Roy Sekoff.

I become incensed to learn that in December The Huffington Post hired away two New York Times editors for well over $100,000 each.

Then to receive an E-mail today from Arianna and Roy about their "Exciting News" of the AOL take over---I was less than enthusiastic. Do they really think 6,000 slave writers will continue to write for free for an international conglomerate like AOL (who pays their web-writers, even if it is meager) without pay?

The deal was made between AOL and Arianna Huffington while they courted her over the weekend at the Super Bowl. Not only did they buy out The Huffington Post for $315 million, but $300 million is in cash.

Essentially, the 6,000 writers Arianna lured with coveted bylines, then exploited their content while the site raked in ad revenue in the millions---has now sold us without our permission, under the guise we'd continue to write for AOL for free---it is presumptuous and arrogant to say the least.

The only way to turn this downward spiral for writers providing original content for the web for meager wages, or in this instance, for not even a slap on the back---is to withdraw. We have grumbled over the years that our craft has lost its value with technical advancement. Web-writing will never compare to print---in respect nor payment---unless we change it. Since the Internet is unregulated when it comes to rights for writers and photographers and collecting fees, then my fellow scribers, this should be a turning point were we no longer write for free. How can one person sell another’s work, without their permission, unless they are slave labor without laws protecting them?

We might not have had rights contributing for The Huffington Post. But it is OUR right now---whether or not to write for free for AOL--- the new owners of The Huffington Post.

This may be an exciting payday for the masthead....but for the thousands of writers that have kept the site in business and lucrative for five years with incentives for advertisers---for AOL to assume it's business as usual without pay---then the executives brokering the deal need to think again. As writing for free for an international corp like AOL---is another beast altogether.

To think the award winning, much admired and regarded Arianna, sold her soul as well as The Grecca ship of slaves---is not only corrupt---but unthinkable. And in my opinion this act of greed and exploitation may be the beginning of her demise.

And I may not be the only contributor to need a glass of water to wash the bitter taste from their mouth....

© COPYRIGHT 2011, R. B. STUART. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction of this Blog in any form.

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