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Posted at 6:12 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

THE LINES ARE DRAWN: Satirists take aim at AOL/HuffPo deal [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

Note: This news item was originally published at 3:50 ET Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker shared his thoughts with Comic Riffs about AOL's $315-million deal with the Huffington Post, saying: "I'm hoping Arianna takes maybe a couple of those megabucks and elects to pay and support a nice stable of cartoonists and political satirists." And Pulitzer-winning political animator Mark Fiore told 'Riffs: "I'm all for the HuffPo/AOL deal if it translates to healthier distribution of quality journalism online."

Now, Wuerker, Fiore and other cartoonists are letting their lines do the talking.

Wuerker depicts Arianna Huffington, the new Queen of All AOL Content, as the head of a content-picking bloggers' plantation.

With this just-posted animation, titled "Aggregation," Fiore mocks a business model that, in his view, monetizes aggregated content but places too little value on actual journalism. (The thought of the great Ernie Pyle as a wartime blogger is both painful and painfully funny.)

Meanwhile, the Taiwan-based studio Next Media Animation renders Huffington as both an aquatic action hero worthy of Jules Verne and as a looming behind-the-curtain head from the Wizard of Oz.

More are to come, we're sure, from cartoonists who are happily paid to provide content.

BOON OR BOONDOGGLE? Working artists react to the HuffPo/AOL deal



Update: Since Comic Riffs interviewed Wuerker and posted his cartoon Tuesday, the Huffington Post has now responded to the Politico's cartoonist's illustrated opinion. Senior PR veep Mario Ruiz told Fishbowl DC on Wednesday:

"The notion that a few people at The Huffington Post 'cashed in' on the backs of overworked, underpaid workers is simply not true. Indeed, everyone at the Huffington Post is benefiting financially from the deal - some through the vesting of options, and others through a special bonus pool that Arianna and the board decided to create to reward employees without options. To be clear, that applies to over 200 people."

By Michael Cavna  | February 9, 2011; 6:12 PM ET
Categories:  General, The Political Cartoon  | Tags:  AOL, Matt Wuerker, Next Media Animation, Politico, The Huffington Post  
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