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AdLib On October - 17 - 2009

Arianna Huffington small

UPDATE:

Arianna remains so envious and angry, she has written ANOTHER article attacking the Balloon Boy coverage for stealing attention from her attention-getting fabricated story.

What is disgusting about this new article is her using the issue of needy children to hide her spite behind.

This article launches a new category here at PlanetPOV for articles, alerts and updates about The Huffington Post. And that’s not meant to be a compliment.

Many here have been and may continue to be members of that site (we remain eternal optimists and don’t like to give up on the potential for change). Some of us go back a ways to when the site reflected a sincere dedication to progressive views, principles and membership.

In the months leading up to the election of Pres. Obama, as a hedge fund became a major investor in Huffington Post, there was a deceptive shift behind the scenes, away from all of the above. The effort began then and continues today to propagate the principled image of the past while instead becoming a more corrupt and greedy investment vehicle.

Why does this matter? Why does the state of the Huffington Post matter as opposed to Health Care Reform, Global Warming and nuclear proliferation?

I’m glad you asked.

First, the whole point of being a principled progressive…is being a principled progressive. If principles are conditional, only applied to those who we typically oppose, then it is not a principle at all, it is just an excuse to condemn a selectively chosen group. It is hypocrisy. Many progressives, myself included, spent 8 horrible years under the yoke of aggression and greed cloaked in hypocrisy and will not abide it no matter who employs it…out of principle.

If we refuse to call out those claiming to be on our side on their hypocrisies and dishonesty, we aide them and their pursuit of agendas intended ultimately to enrich themselves…at the expense of even their most loyal and faithful followers.

It matters in this case because this is the same rot-from-the-inside that deteriorated the Democratic Party repeatedly in the past. Those claiming to be loyal Dems, such as those in the DLC, while presenting an image of classic Democratic values, were really about accommodating the status quo and corporate and financial entities with which they were and are deeply entrenched. And what happened was that those progressives who bought into it, were manipulated and misled into supporting and  empowering them.

In return for this, these Dem politicians turned their backs on the people who elected them and became the best friends of corporate America. They became so corrupt and ineffective that their constituency was discouraged and stepped back from aggressively supporting them. It got so bad that in the 2000 election, a frequent observation by Dems and Indie voters was, “What’s the difference of voting for Gore or Bush,  there’s no big differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties anymore.”

And with the Democratic base being discouraged and not turning out in great numbers to vote for Gore, look at what happened to our nation over the following 8 years.

The problem with The Huffington Post is that they have become the preeminent media entity for representing and attracting progressives.  Editors and contributors to The Huffington Post appear on a near daily basis on the cable news shows, in editorials on many sites and in newspapers. They have a multimillion dollar “investigative fund” while most other papers and news outlets have slashed and discouraged investigative reporting. And they have not hesitated to use that fund to go after stories that are most in tune with their corporate and profit-generating agenda.

The Huffington Post is a major force in the news industry and is gaining in power and exposure. That is why this matters. Because, if the majority of progressives view the site and its representatives as speaking for progressives, progressives will continue to get behind them and let them lead.

And the problem with that is that if they are indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing, if their overriding goal is simply to generate profits, power and celebrity as opposed to pursuing progressive causes, the progressive movement will be led astray, disillusioned and detoured from their goals. And the Dems will again find themselves in disarray, out of power and on the receiving end of further destructive right wing policies.

How many people, while reading Huffington Post’s unrelenting attacks on Pres. Obama’s handling of the financial crisis and Tim Geithner, know that Huffington Post is financed by an agenda driven hedge fund with investments in the health care and insurance industry?

The Huffington Post is not only hiding the agenda of its owners but has a business philosophy of exploiting progressives. Progressives are just oranges to be squeezed for clicks and visits to the site.  So, they publish intentionally provocative articles to whip up progressive anger and huge font, screaming red headlines that are misleading and dishonest. They encourage and protect abusive right wingers (trolls) on the commenting blogs to stir up emotions and conflict that will keep progressives on the site for hours and hours in one futile battle after another. Which of course means higher numbers of visits and length of stays that allows them to charge more for advertising.

And what are some of the ads appearing today and this week on Huffington Post? There is a big banner ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce promoting its new “Free Enterprise” propaganda campaign that is intent on killing health care reform and removing EVEN MORE government oversight on business.

Today, appearing on the page of the lead story is an ad for the Insurance Companies’ astroturf campaign to kill health care reform saying, “Stop Government-run Health Care! Sign the Petition. Hands Off My Health Care! Paid for by Patients First, a project of Americans For Prosperity.”

How progressive is Americans For Prosperity, who are they and what do they stand for? With your patience, here is an excerpt from an article at ThinkProgress.com:

Maddow Calls Out Americans for Prosperity President: ‘Parasite Who Gets Fat On Americans’ Fears’

In May, the Wonk Room first reported on the sordid history of Republican operative Tim Phillips — who now heads the front group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) — with respect to his long history of orchestrating “grassroots” lobbying efforts for nefarious corporate and political clients. For example, Phillips helped run a “religious and pro-family” campaign for Enron’s largely successful attempt to achieve energy deregulation policies, and in another campaign used anti-Semitic attacks against Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) during Cantor’s first run for Congress.

Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called Phillips out for using deceptive tactics and fear in his campaigns, noting in particular his role in creating the ads which portrayed former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) — a triple amputee and Vietnam war veteran — as a terrorist sympathizer. Phillips stood by every single example of his work for his Republican and corporate clients, adding that he indeed does believe Cleland didn’t have the “courage to lead on the war on terror.”

Maddow extracted confessions from Phillips that he had in fact worked for a Jack Abramoff client to pressure members of Congress to vote against legislation that would have made the U.S. commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands — where Chinese workers were forced into prostitution and mandatory abortions — subject to federal wage and worker safety laws. Even given the deplorable conditions at the sweatshops, Phillips was unrepentant. “I don’t have an issue with it,” said Phillips, adding, “I’m not going to disown it.”

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/10/16/afp-corporate-parasites/

Huffington Post is happily taking money from and promoting Americans for Prosperity and Tim Phillips, two of the biggest enemies of progressives and democracy out there.  How much could a site truly believe in progressives and liberals and run and promote such an ad? Do you think RedState.com or Drudge Report would run a “Vote Obama” or pro Public Option ad?

Add to that, this so-called progressive site uses the most heavy-handed and arbitrary censorship of any “progressive” blogging site. They have a blacklist that has at one time or another forced all posts containing any words on the blacklist to be censored. And what are just a few of the hundreds or thousands of words they have and still do blacklist?

“Dick Cheney”. “Ted Kennedy”.  Even The number “11” (as in 9/11 but used in any way).

And to this day,  the name of the site, “Huffington Post” is blacklisted. You can’t mention the site by name without your comment being held. You can’t even include links to any other stories or any part of the site at all without your comment being blocked. And you certainly can’t type “Arianna” or “Huffington” without your comment being detoured. Of course, no tough criticism is allowed of Arianna Huffington, her articles, the site or its editorial or moderation policies.

This is what a progressive blog is supposed to be?

Of course not.

At this point, let me be clear that there are many genuine progressives writing articles and comments at Huffington Post. This is not meant to be a generalized slap at everyone participating at Huffington Post (or I would be among that group too!), it is narrowly aimed at the ownership and management of the site.

As has been addressed here recently and previously, when it comes to Arianna Huffington, The Empress has no clothes. Arianna, who overnight went from rabid right winger to rabid liberal does by her very action reveal that she is primarily an opportunist, not an ideologue (could you flip overnight from hard core Dem to hard core Republican or vice versa…if you genuinely believe in your current philosophy?)

Arianna Huffington tries to play the exploitation game by making wild and outrageous statements (her most recent was that Biden should resign in protest if Pres Obama doesn’t follow his orders on Afghanistan) that are so transparently intended just to get her on more news talk shows to further her hunger for celebrity, power and wealth.

The amusing thing this time was that the Balloon Boy story out-exploited her exploitative attempts to get on the news and after the spotlight was pulled from her, she wrote a furious article at HuffPo about how news shows are so shallow because they cater to meaningless exploitative stories and people. Heh! Talk about a Glenn-Beckian degree of obliviousness!

So, stay tuned for ongoing coverage and analysis of the Trojan Horse wheeled into the middle of the Progressive Movement that is called The Huffington Post.

Consider it looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

14 Responses so far.

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  1. chazmania says:

    Basicaially all i have to do is stand beside AdLib and shout.

    “YEAH! WHAT HE SAID!”

    Your so right on About HP{spit}..matter of fact i have not been back on it sins i came hear but for maybe once..
    I have to say i dont miss it…
    And i got sick of the heavy handed Moding and childishness….

    But here i feel i am far too preaching to the choir…
    What really needs to take place is a massive shift in EVERYONE’S thinking. (no opinion is not critical empirical thinking its emotion)
    And to be able to sway people not yet fully corporate cubical zombies is worth the fight.

    Ethics is the thing i live by…i said to a friend i would rather live in a box down by the river then compromise my ethics..
    Saw the film the murder of Mary Phagan…in it Leo Frank is accused of it and gets sentenced to hang…the one Governor did not believe the story and tried to save him and lost his career in the senate.
    In the movie at least he could not just hang the guy if he knew it was ethically wrong….Who is left on the this world anymore that has any ethical character like that?

  2. KevenSeven says:

    I have indeed been shocked by the level of censorship and the eagerness to ban at Huff.

    They nixed Atomic Splash. Unconscionable.

    I think it is past time to encourage some HuffNo Friday action again. But we can all come here, were talk is actually free.

    • AdLib says:

      I’m all for an organized visit to HuffPo on a Thursday to encourage folks to meet here on HuffNo Friday. In the meantime, keep spreading the word and if there’s anyway to reach AtomicSplash (isn’t he likely to show up under a new name?), he should definitely be invited here.

      Habits are hard to break, optional things that are habits can seem like necessities but as we’ve learned, life goes on just fine and dandy when you walk away from a habit that’s become soured.

  3. VegasBabe says:

    Well Adlib, all I can say is you seem to have certainly hit the nail on the head about Huffie. It is not what it once was and the long and the short of it, to me, is greed, pure and simple. Once it became as popular as it has, it was a goner. It’s so encouraging though to have such an open place like the Planet to come to and still enjoy posts and articles from folks who aren’t getting paid for anything, just offering their opinions and thoughts and I probably enjoy that even more. I hope the Planet never changes and anyone willing to share an opinion, civilly, is always welcome.

    • AdLib says:

      I’ve seen this in business many times. A pitchman or pitchwoman cloaks their venture in altruism (“I’m doing this for the children!”), attracts people who believe in the altruistic goal, the venture starts out earnestly aimed at what the represented goal was…

      …then when money and success follow, the true colors of the pitchwoman emerge as she tries to grab the money, celebrity, power, etc.

      Many still view the venture as genuine since that image has been impressed on them before and many participating continue in earnest, in denial or just oblivious to how the vehicle has changed into a pirate ship.

      As for The Planet, your sentiment makes all the work and investment so rewarding, thanks VegasBabe!

      The Planet is and will indeed remain a citizen’s think tank, a public square for true freedom of expression.

      Until I divorce my gay Republican husband and opportunistically do a complete reversal on all of my supposedly strongly held opinions, of course.

      • chazmania says:

        You know i see this exact thing with the DEM/Obama supporter..
        I know many on here support him..I personally think he is no better then AH ..I think he sold his soul to the company store a long time before he even ran for president…

  4. KQuark says:

    Aryanna is double downing on her balloon boy obsession. Now she is saying we should put homeless children in a balloon so they get attention. That is utterly moronic even to suggest this idea to make a point.

    • AdLib says:

      Boy, it must really stick in her craw that her bullshit was trumped by Balloon Boy bullshit.

      She needs to cut her dependency on media exposure or it may lead to Oxycontin addiction and slurs against black players in the NFL.

  5. nellie says:

    So, what do we do about it?

    What I liked about HuffPo when it first started was that it culled the best articles from the major newspapers, and also from think tanks like Think Progress and Media Matters, as well as the occasional original piece from sites like Raw Story, Truthout and TPM. Now it’s just a mess, IMHO. If I read the papers, there’s nothing new in Huffington Post, and there’s always a “theme” being pushed by the editorial staff. Pretty tiresome.

    I mainly go there now to debunk talking points that get posted by paid trollers, and to enjoy a pretty damed good community of thinking folks who hang out in the comments section. But the editorial aspect of the site has really sunk.

    So what’s an ernest progressive to do? Any ideas?

    • AdLib says:

      What can we do? Good question. I do feel the responsibility to shout, “The Empress has no clothes!” at Huffington Post and here.

      It’s like when they interview the mother of a serial killer, “He used to be such a happy little boy”. HuffPo has changed permanently, grown up from a responsible progressive outlet to a MSM corporate machine that runs on money, titillation and outrage (with a reserve tank of hypocrisy).

      CNN is never going back to what it was under Ted Turner either. Corruption, like a diamond, is forever.

      Like shopping at Mom and Pop stores instead of Walmart, I think it helps to participate in other sites that are more earnest, like The Planet (he said humbly), to openly discuss what can’t be discussed at HuffPo and there may eventually be a “trickle down” effect since every site’s articles are propagated across the internet.

      Still, I think engaging others at HuffPo about this perspective is also a good idea. Just as the years of the public criticizing Fox News as the GOP propaganda machine that it is has finally worked its way up to coming from the POTUS, it can be pressed to become common knowledge that HuffPo is just a hedge fund and egotist driven enterprise masquerading as a progressive site just to exploit progressives.

      I don’t know that change is possible over there, their success grows despite their mistreatment of members and their increasing National Enquirer type approach to “news” so why would they change?

      Again, I think what can be done is to bell the cat and patronize other blog sites that are more genuine in their beliefs (Daily Kos is a good site too and there are others).

      • KQuark says:

        There are two ways to control people through fear and through apathy. HuffPo is trying to control people with apathy towards progressive change. Day after day even there one time good columnists are so cynical it makes other progressives cynical and apathetic. They do this because of the old adage misery loves company so all they want to do is promote misery for more ad money.

        People ignore all the steady progress and focus on things that have not changed as of yet but are in progress.

        • AdLib says:

          I see it as more of a side effect of their lust for celebrity, power and money.

          As a self-interested corporation, they’re focused on amassing all of the above and the side effect of such popularity is being perceived as “The Big Friend”.

          This leads to the turning off of critical thinking in the minds of members who feel there is no need to question “their” representative site.

          And as you describe, such apathy leads to being easily programmed and manipulated.

          Apathy and echoing other people’s thoughts, it’s not just for Republicans.

    • KQuark says:

      There’s not much anyone can do because HP is the darling of the progressive media. What they are doing is creating a progressive echo chamber where I see fewer and fewer progressives not joining into the group think and memes of the progressive media subculture. All true independent thinkers can do is disengage themselves from the group think and evaluate the world for yourself. You have to ask yourself on each issue what are my beliefs and not be prey to the beliefs of any one group. Personally I disengaged from the blog world and opinion news world about 90% and my head is in a much better place.

      • AdLib says:

        As you’ve pointed out before, Arianna is applying the “dittohead” Republican thinking that has never changed in her, to the Democratic Party via Huffington Post. Groupthink indeed.

        Anyone who reads the FULLY MODERATED comments that are permitted to be posted under her articles can see for themselves how blindly slavish and worshiping many are to her…no different than avid fans of Beck and Rush.

        Liberals are supposed to be open minded, this conformity of thought is offensive to see in liberals.

        As I’ve learned through other experiences, when there is a common enemy, as Bush was, many individuals can come together and personal agendas and emotional issues stay on the sidelines.

        Once the common enemy is gone, the personal agendas and emotional issues emerge and pull apart solidarity and genuine purpose.

        In HuffPo’s case, they have deteriorated into a tabloid version of their former self, huge misleading headlines and stories about celebrity’s nipples. And Arianna has only become more ravenous for celebrity, attention, power and wealth.

        It is a betrayal.

        As for the therapeutic effect of dialing down on visiting and posting at HuffPo, I think the clinical tests will confirm that it’s better for everyone’s mental health.

        The mindless back and forth between trolls insulting Obama and “libruls”, making up false “truths” and hurling racist and offensive insults and HuffPo faithful trying to defend truth, honor and the American Way is truly a total waste of time.

        The trolls do what they do simply to create conflicts on the site, HuffPo loves it because it results in more visits and lengths of stay which means higher ad rates. So they keep it going, playing progressive members like fools.

        When I see the trolls doing their thing, I can hardly be bothered to respond (I still do occasionally but not to correct them, merely to bounce them off the wall with a slap of snark).

        There are a lot of clever and genuinely progressive people commenting and writing articles there so spending some time there has value but the site needs to be unmasked for what’s going on behind the scenes.


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