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Marion On March - 7 - 2011

Boy, do I love it when frauds are exposed. I love it when people are exposed as users of other people in order to gain their own prominence. There’s nothing I like better than to see someone jump a shark out of sheer ambition, only to see the shark rear up and take a prime piece of well-deserved ass.

I have long known Arianna Huffington to be the abject phony and opportunist that she is. When I first heard of her, she was a raving Rightwing wannabe political commentator, trying desperately to gain a foothold in the British political media and failing. She’d just written a polemic, challenging Germaine Greer’s feminist writings, which would have made Phyllis Schlafly look like Jane Fonda.

Then there was the plagiarism trial, which resulted in further besmirching her name as a dilettante and a political parvenue.

Fast forward to the Nineties when I’m home visiting my folks, only to see a huge article in the Washington Post’s Sunday magazine, describing Arianna Huffington (I’d known of her as Stanisopoulos), dutiful Congressional wife, located in Washington and trying to organise weekly soirees resembling the intellectual and poltical salons of the French Empire, fancying herself and her European antecedents as a modern-day Madame de Stael.

The salon idea failed, but it hooked her up with Newt Gingrich, and together, they mounted a virulent campaign intent on impeaching one William Jefferson Clinton, with Arianna manning the online petition for Clinton’s political demise.

Well, we all know how that worked out too, and we all know the success story that eventually becameThe Huffington Post. In one way or another, we were all sucked into the Huffington vortex, reckoning and believing it to be the Left’s answer to Drudge.

I don’t know if I were born cynical or if I acquired cynicism, having married a Brit and lived abroad for so long, but – suffice it to say – I never bought St Paul’s Damascene conversion and I sure as hell didn’t buy Arianna’s abrupt Left turn from neocon to Progressive, literally overnight. And I knew I was proven right as soon as she started nit-picking and wantonly criticizing, not only the President, but also various high-profile members of his Administration, in particular, Tim Geithner, as she waged a war against the evils of Wall Street and the corporate take-over of America.

As Arianna always has a very vocal opinion about anything which she can use as a stick with which to beat the President, I cocked a suspicious eye at the fact that she chose to remain silent at the height of the Shirley Sherrod controversy – but then I knew Andrew Breitbart was a co-founder of HuffPo and a protege of Arianna from donkey’s years back.

I cocked an even more suspicious eye as she trolled the country, trolling the more gullible and less emotionally and politically mature sections of the Left, in the run up to the 2010 Mid-terms, driving a wedge deeper than the Grand Canyon in that particular demographic. The message the Greek Media Whoracle preached was simply that Obama didn’t give a rat’s ass about the middle class, that he’d hung them out to dry, and that – by the way – she had a reasonably priced book she’d written that would explain everything.

So, when she announced that she’d signed a pact with the corporate devil that is AOL and sold her little internet baby for the handsome sum of $315 million, I could just imagine that shark tasting feta cheese.

And now, I’m sure he’s had a feast.

Her legion of unpaid bloggers took umbrage that she’d scored such a profit on their backs. It kinda smelled like slavery in the Old South – you know, when Massa would laugh all the way to the cotton bank with his profits whilst his slaves toiled wearily in the fields. But, hey, they should be grateful they were cared for, and so Arianna’s dutiful bloggers – the hoi polloi, not the well-oiled and wealthy celebrity types – should be grateful she was affording them exposure.

She even despatched one of her paid lackeys, someone named Marco Ruiz, to the front line to explain why she wasn’t about to share her good fortune with her unpaid minions, but how, as well, her good fortune benefitted all the little people, dahhhlinks, because these unfortunates got free exposure. Actually, Marco explained, it was rather like the same situation as when an author appeared on a television program promoting his latest book, or when an eminient authority appeared on such a program to expound upon a subject.

Except, it’s not, because those authors and authorities get paid an appearance fee. Even her surrogate son, Bill Maher, pays his Real Time guests $2500 for just sitting at a table. That at least covers their First Class air fares from the East Coast.

The beleagured bloggers have even created a Facebook page, highlighting their concerns, entitled, “Hey Arianna, Can You Spare a Dime?” And Marco the cheerleader has been assigned a presence on that page to fight Arianna’s corner. His latest attempt was to inform all the unfortunates how ungrateful they were, and how he’d forever be grateful for what Arianna had done for internet journalism and for hiimself.

“But, Marco,” a commentator pointed out, “you are paid.”

And now, it seems, various contributors have decided to take a leaf from Wisconsin’s book and institute a strike against The Huffington Post, demanding collective bargaining rights. The spectre of various HuffPost bloggers manning a picket line en masse outside Huffington’s swish Soho offices in New York, with Madame assuming the Scott Walker role is the stuff of legend – another little man standing up for his own interests against a rich corporation, which is, essentially, what Huffington’s become.

Bill Lasarow, publisher and editor of Visual Art Source, which has contributed content for free to HuffPo for a year now, has announced that his organisation is going on strike against Huffington, with two demands, specifically:-

1) that Huffington develop a system whereby bloggers are paid for their efforts and

2) that Huffington differentiates between paid promotional content and writers’ work.

They are also proposing that contributors band together to instigate a system of collective bargaining. While it’s not illegal that bloggers are unpaid, Lasarow points out, it’s unethical and just a wee bit hypocritical.

And so much for the sainted little people for whom Arianna had made herself a self-appointed spokesperson.

If nothing else, this proposed action has shown, indelibly, how far removed and how out-of-touch with ordinary people, the faux and fashionable Progressive intelligentsia has become. Immediately this idea was mooted and put into the public domain, one of Arianna’s celebrity bloggers – you know, the ones who have substantial income from another source – jumped to her defense.

Robert Scheer, who blogs occasionally for HuffPo, but whose professional writing efforts are imbursed by Katrina vanden Heuvel’s trust fund, AKA The Nation, readily assumed the role of Huffington Knight Errant, saying, “In defense of the use of unpaid bloggers, of which I happen to be one among the many who appear on a regular basis on the Huffington Post, we are not exploited.”

Oh, well … that’s all right then. God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world, and Robert Scheer speaks for a multitude.

The op-eds, Scheer says dismissively, were never a source of serious income anyway. Maybe not for Mr Scheer, but the striking contributors say – and rightly so – for well-known contributors, who aren’t concerned about reimbursements for their efforts, to take this sort of dismissive attitude is nothing short of disgraceful.

And, really, doesn’t this sort of disdain smack of the Koch-infested Right? It certainly goes a long way in explaining why, at the beginning of last week, when the Wisconsin protests were reaching their heights, that the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post sought to write a lengthy account of hers and Bill Maher’s exploits at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, making light of Kirk Douglas’s aphasia, rather than lend moral support to those middle class strugglers in Wisconsin, whom she formerly purported to support. She would do well to remember Kirk Douglas, a lifelong liberal and Democrat, was the one man who broke the Hollywood McCarthyite blacklisting of Dalton Trumbo, a writer.

Instead, Madame weighed in on the potential strike situation, whilst at a conference in New York City last week, with these words, ridiculing these people: “Go ahead, go on strike! The idea of going on strike when no one really notices!”

Oh, really, Arianna? I guess you haven’t been noticing the thousands of middle class people – you know, the ones you convinced the President disdained – camping out in freezing conditions to fight for their rights against a governor, who’s increasingly become megalomaniacal.

With such an attitude, it’s mete to ask how one says, “Let them eat cake” in Greek, the moral of this story being: Beware of Greeks causing rifts.

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Arianna's Marie Antoinette Moment, 9.4 out of 10 based on 22 ratings

96 Responses so far.

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  1. biznesschic says:

    Our resident professional Obama basher over at HP, Robert Reich, gave his humbled opinion as to why President Obama should be more forceful in this congressional budget fight. Unlike Clinton, who basically did the same thing during budget battles, Obama should fight to shore up his “base”. Well, I have pinned an open letter to our dear Dr. Reich:

    An open letter to Dr. Reich:

    Dear Dr Reich:

    “WE BLACK PEOPLE BE SMART TO”:

    Now, do you feel better? You see, your constant need to tell this black president what to do, even when you have proved to be wrong 90% of the time, takes me back to the plantation, when the overseer had to tell his slave where to place that bag of hay. We no longer need your great white wisdom and “guidance, when clearly, if the American public thought otherwise, we would have elected your lips to butt, Hillary Clinton.

    So Dr Reich, coming from an educated black women, who is clearly not too bright, I will try to answer your question as to why our President is staying above the fray in the budget battle:

    1) It is the job of congress to write the budget and
    2) We elected the black guy to use the power of the veto pin

    There, and it didn’t take a 500 word essay on Huff post.

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  2. Zoey says:

    Good Afternoon everyone. Excellent article Marion. I just stopped in to read and to share this info with you all. It seems like Arianna Antoinette is now receiving the criticism that’s been long overdue. Now that I found my login info I can comment more. Have a great day everyone. Be safe.

    NY Times, Huffington Post exchange barbs

    Bill Keller, executive editor of the venerable New York Times, and Arianna Huffington, founder of brash newcomer The Huffington Post, exchanged blows on Thursday in a highly public spat.

    Keller threw the first punch in a column for the Times magazine, calling Huffington the “queen of aggregation” in a dig at her site’s practice of frequently linking to news items produced by other media outlets.

    Huffington, he wrote, “has discovered that if you take celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications, array them on your website and add a left-wing soundtrack, millions of people will come.”

    Aggregation, the Times editor said, too often “amounts to taking words written by other people, packaging them on your own website and harvesting revenue that might otherwise be directed to the originators of the material.”

    “In Somalia this would be called piracy,” he said. “In the mediasphere, it is a respected business model.”

    http://www.alternet.org/rss/breaking_news/515604/ny_times%2C_huffington__post_exchange_barbs/

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  3. NanaMex says:

    Ariana and HuffPo lost their appeal for me when the demonising of Assange was given so much attention, making the whole Wikileaks issue about the man rather than the message. It seemed that I was spending more time stating “it’s about the message, not the man” that there was little time left for other issues.

    All of the rest of my own issues with HuffPo have been stated in these comments much better than I could have said them.

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  4. For America and Roosevelt says:

    “ And, really, doesn’t this sort of disdain smack of the Koch-infested Right? ”

    The overwhelming central point that cannot be overemphasised is that the Huffypuffy Poopot IS, repeat, IS, repeat, IS IS IS IS IS THE KOCH-INFESTED RIGHT!!

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    • biznesschic says:

      Its happening. Andrew breitbart is blogger over there now, taking up for that Okeefe weasel!

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    • For America and Roosevelt says:

      Sorry, cut myself off mid-comment somehow –

      I left, not because of the O deal, not because of unpaid bloggers, not because of moderation, but because, in the week or two before I left, the HP ran –

      – an attack on the First Lady ( because saying women should wear what they want is an attack on American industry, you know ) in a “ blog post ” linking ONLY to a **Newsmax** item

      — and — this makes my blood boil —

      A HATCHET JOB ON SHIRLEY SHERROD BY A ***BREITBART “ FILMMAKER ”***
      ( yes, you read that right ) ( in which, on top of it, he personally responded to each of the few critical comments
      he chose to post is classic rightthug fashion )

      – and this after the endless months of MLK-desecrating gunnut Dennis Santiago, hatemongers Shmuley Botulism and Ken Blackwell and all of the other gutter scum infesting HP.

      HP **IS** an extreme-right site masquerading as a liberal site. It gets linked to by Yahoo, and I guess is now similarly featured by AOL, as the obligatory “ liberal ” site when it is nothing of the kind. And thus, another blow against legitimacy itself in the MSM.

      And, of course, while I realise some may still have sentimental ties, continuing to frequent the site is something to seriously examine from a moral standpoint. I have not been, and will not be back.

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  5. Dbos says:

    Beware of greeks bearing gifts; wow great historical perspective of ah really really enjoyed it

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  6. zippitytoo says:

    I always hate it when I find out I have been had. I started feeling suspicious right after Obama was sworn in. HP seemed to change overnight. Thanks for some of her background…sheesh!

    I still have my account over there and I have noticed fewer and fewer comments on almost all posts. The stories seem to stay up longer almost as if they are desperately seeking clicks.

    I always say hit them where it hurts…..right in the pocket!

    Question: do the comments drive advertising dollars as well as just regular clicks on the site to read an article?
    Thanks!
    Zip!

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  7. Redemption Song says:

    Well said, Marion. (Arianna is the Queen of Grifters.)

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  8. audadvnc says:

    In Minnesota, 1862, the Dakota Indians had been forced off their lands by settlers and were slowly starving on unproductive land. According to legend, at a meeting of the Dakota, the U.S. government and local traders, the Dakota representatives asked the representative of the government traders, Andrew Jackson Myrick, to sell them food on credit. His response was said to be, “[S]o far as I am concerned, let them eat grass.”

    A few months later, during the Dakota uprising, Mr. Myrick was found dead, scalped, his mouth stuffed with grass.

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  9. ChrisR266 says:

    Pimp of the worst order comes to mind.

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  10. caleb36 says:

    As many scoundrels as there are in today’s America, I am not aware of anyone comparable to Arianna. She used the efforts of thousands of well-meaning progressive bloggers and posters to build a marketable internet forum, then conned them by selling out to a right wing corporation. She sees progressive politics purely as a market opportunity for herself. She is a manipulator of people on a monumental scale.

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  11. Truth says:

    Thanks Marion -- the FB page is a treasure trove of information… and I didn’t have to join so far to read it!

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  12. Chernynkaya says:

    2 garden-- I just saw your comment. You are wondeful! Thank you!!!

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  13. Sabreen60 says:

    For at least a year, I constantly asked where were the positive articles about ANY accomplishment of this administration. I didn’t know what AH’s agenda was, but it certainly was not to advocate for Progressives/liberals/Democrats. I became so disgusted with AH that when I saw her on TV, I changed the channel. Beware of those who carried the Republican banner, and now claim that they are Progressives.

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  14. choicelady says:

    Marion -- this is AWESOME! I have learned so much about AH from you, stuff I never knew, and this is just wonderful! I’ve not liked her since she tried to run for Governor in CA and the ego and hubris trumped anything she had to say. I really had paid very little attention to her, so I did believe the Damascene conversion (though I agree with you about Paul, BTW) and figured after she left her bizarro husband, she’d become “enlightened”. Never knew any of this stuff about her.

    NOW she shows her true colors -- HP is NOT progressive or even really liberal. I got someone linked to them a couple of years ago to write about the political battled against the religious right, and SWEAR TO GOD -- I KNOW she posts, but you’d never find it without trolling for her name (Chris Rodda writing for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.) It always puzzled me why Chris would be so obscured when her stuff is so great. Now I know. Ms.Information can’t bear to have even those goons in the Dominionist world exposed. So she gains ‘leftie’ cred by letting people such as Chris write and keeps her ‘rightie’ cred pure by burying them.

    Tricky. Very, very sly is our Arianna.

    I am OVER the moon they are trying to unionize her blogosphere! The very idea that she spouts the Third World America stuff (over the top as it is) and then plays Ms. Koch when it hits home would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly UGLY! What a BITCH!!!

    Huffington Post is good for nothing anymore -- except clearing one’s throat {spit}.

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    • Smedley Butler says:

      I wrote some stuff for her Governor in CA campaign. The last straw was when after repeatedly decrying the practice of “pay for access” politics, she offered folks the opportunity of accompanying her on a “nature walk” in return for a very hefty donation.

      In retrospect the whole thing looks like little more than a slash and burn PR campaign using unpaid and idealistic labor to facilitate self promotion.

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      • choicelady says:

        I probably know you, hanging around Sacramento as I do, and you have my sympathy for EVER having had to work for her.

        I believe with all my energy that we might NOT have had Ah-nold for Governor if she had just kept her freaking mouth SHUT in that horrid “debate”. When he was asked what HE would do about the major shortfall that faced the state -- the minute he would have shown his stupidity and lack of solution -- SHE butted in, and he NEVER had to answer the freaking question. So his celebrity carried him along, and he never had to take ownership of his own ignorance and lack of understanding of how government does -- and does NOT -- work.

        EVen at the time I was screaming -- LET HIM HANG HIMSELF! But nooooo her ego would not keep her motor mouth STILL.

        Grrr.

        BTW -- like your handle. Honorable man, Smedley.

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