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.
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