Arianna Huffington: Let Them Eat Cake

So said Marie Antoinette right before she lost her head:

Arianna Huffington is being cast by some unpaid Huffington Post contributors as an unethical robber baron. With Huffington awash in funds from AOL’s $315 million purchase of the Huffington Post, contributors have called a strike to demand proper compensation.

The Huffington Post, established in 2005, emerged as a leading source of aggregated news content and liberal commentary written by unpaid contributors. With the success of the site, founder Arianna Huffington rocketed to national fame, frequently appearing as a guest on cable news programs.

I would like to note for the record, that every diarist here on RedState is also an unpaid contributor. Sure we don’t always get on the front page and some of our stuff doesn’t always get recognized, but we do contribute to the content of RedState in a small way by writing diaries.

If, at any time, you feel that you are being teated unfairly, just walk away. If, at any time, you feel you should be paid for what you are doing, start your own website and sell ads. It is honestly that simple.

LaborUnionReport, for example, not only has his own site, but still posts here and at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment blog. As a personal note, I’d give my left nut in order to be able to write just one article on that site.

I personally think it’s a good trade-off for me, at this time. At first, I really didn’t take blogging seriously. I thought of myself as a fiction writer and didn’t think too much about political blogging. It was a place where I could find like-minded people. It wasn’t until the primary season last year that I took my blogging seriously and when I found I really liked it. So right now I get to sharpen my writing skills* while RedState and Practical State allows me the platform to spew my opinions on whay is going on in the world.

Which is why I find Bill Lasarow completely asinine.

Bill Lasarow, Publisher and Co-Editor of Visual Art Source, announced that his organization is “now going on strike. For now, at least, no more content from us will appear on the Huffington Post.”

Visual Art Source members have contributed content to the Huffington Post for free since 2010. Lasarow wrote that “it is unethical to expect trained and qualified professionals to contribute quality content for nothing.

“How far the strike will spread is currently unclear. But Lasarow wrote that his group is calling for broad participation by Huffington Post contributors. “I am also calling upon all others now contributing free content, particularly original content to the Huffington Post to also join us in this strike,” wrote Lasarow.

Lasarow wrote that his organization has two demands. The first, that the Huffington Post develop a system for paying writers and bloggers. The second, for the site to differentiate between paid promotional content and writers’ work.

Writers On The ‘Net, Unite!

I can see it now, the start of internet unions. Which, in my honest opinion, is a (and I hate to repeat myself) completely asinine concept. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly and/or feel you need to be paid for what you write, then get your own site. Just walk away.

I also think Arianna Huffington’s response is also… odd.

Robert Scheer wrote in The Nation on February 23 a defense of Huffington’s system of not paying contributors. “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,” wrote Scheer.

The contributors on strike claim that well-known contributors “who will never need to be concerned about pay scales” should be ashamed of themselves for abetting the current situation.

Scheer claimed that “For most contributors, the op-ed page was never a serious source of income.”

Huffington dismissed the strike Thursday at a conference hosted by PaidContent in New York City. “Go ahead, go on strike,” Huffington said, deriding “the idea of going on strike when no one really notices.”

Ok, let’s not kid ourselves and call Arianna Huffington for what she is: A liberal shrill. A very business orientated liberal, but a liberal shrill none-the-less. I doubt she was ever a conservative.

So the question we must ask ourselves, is why is she dismissing these poor worker’s right to an honest wage? /sarcasm

All joking aside, the reason is that it would make The Huffington Post unprofitable. Oh sure, she could charge more for ads or add more ads or even start charging people to read content. However all three would ruin what made The Huffington Post a good place to go for news and commentary. Granted I don’t go there myself, but they must have a good balance of ads to make going there enjoyable. Arianna Huffington is first and foremost a businesswoman and her business is the business.

“Let them eat cake.” Says Arianna Huffington in the story. “I will find others who would like a name for themselves on my website.”

This time, she lived happily ever after.

[Cross-Posted On Practical State.com]


*I know I still have a long way to go. Even I look back at resent articles and think to myself, “I could have written more and/or done a better job.” I was very bad with grammar and spelling as a kid and I feel bad about it all. However I learn something new everyday and, at the very least, I am trying. Honest criticism is welcome.