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Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Arianna Huffington: 'Empress of the Internet'

By Ezra Klein


That's Felix Salmon's take on AOL's acquisition of the Huffington Post, anyway:

My feeling, then, is that this deal is a good one for both sides. AOL gets something it desperately needs: a voice and a clear editorial vision. It’s smart, and bold, to put Arianna in charge of all AOL’s editorial content, since she is one of the precious few people who has managed to create a mass-market general-interest online publication which isn’t bland and which has an instantly identifiable personality. That’s a rare skill and one which AOL desperately needs to apply to its broad yet inchoate suite of websites.

As for HuffPo, it gets lots of money, great tech content from Engadget and TechCrunch, hugely valuable video-production abilities, a local infrastructure in Patch, lots of money, a public stock-market listing with which to make fill-in acquisitions and incentivize employees with options, a massive leg up in terms of reaching the older and more conservative Web 1.0 audience and did I mention the lots of money? Last year at SXSW I was talking about how ambitious New York entrepreneurs in the dot-com space have often done very well for themselves in the tech space, but have signally failed to engineer massive exits in the content space. With this sale, Jonah Peretti changes all that; his minority stake in HuffPo is probably worth more than the amount of money Jason Calacanis got when he sold Weblogs Inc to AOL.

And then, of course, there’s Arianna, who is now officially the Empress of the Internet with both power and her own self-made dynastic wealth. She’s already started raiding big names from mainstream media, like Howard Fineman and Tim O’Brien; expect that trend to accelerate now that she’s on a much firmer financial footing.

Photo credit: By Lucas Jackson/Reuters

By Ezra Klein  | February 7, 2011; 11:26 AM ET
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personally, i am no fan of arianna huffington's brand of journalism.
she, more than any other outfit, pushes sarah palin, and now, michelle bachman....instead of offering legitimate and substantive content.
i go to her site infrequently now, after exploiting her "third world america' book. for someone who came from another country, she has done darned well on the american dream.
and for a worldly person, who has travelled to other countries, to sensationalize our economic crisis, by calling us a third world a humanitarian insult, to people in third world countries who are suffering in a magnitude that we do not know here.
it was exploitative for her to do that, just to sell her book.
i looked a few days ago, at her site, and she had an article up...."the american dream is for s**t."
i thought, that was pretty horrible.
there are many people in this country, who are enjoying a good life....and getting ahead, and finding an american dream for themselves and their families.
maybe we are not living in the early nineties anymore, but many people are still doing well....and life is easier for many, than it was for americans in the past.
i resent went she allows something printed, that says, "the american dream is for sh*t."
it is a cheap shot.
for the sake of a big headline, arriana huffington takes lots of cheap shots.
she loves to lambast the united states, and create headlines, that dont match the stories.
i think she offers a dumbed down form of journalism, for the most part.
it is regrettable. and if she is the empress of the internet, she could bring more substantive content and less sensationalized headlines that dont reflect the truth of the stories, and less untrue cheap shots at the united states.
and i dont think she is a "self-made" person. she started with a lot of capital behind her, i think.
the huffington post represents a lot of what is really going wrong with united states.
just my opinion.

Posted by: jkaren | February 7, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

This deal will result in a watered down huffpost, where conservative POVs will someday soon be allowed to flourish and eventually take over due to corporate agendas.

Arianna is selling out all progressives with this deal.

Olbermann, the highest rated MSNBC host? Fired due to political overtness. Same thing happened to Donahue because he dared question the wars. In the meantime O"Reilly is allowed to act like a journalist instead of an opinion-oriented hothead and interviewing the President.

Many writers have been fired from NYTimes and other prominent papers and/or stations.

When has Fox ever fired a well known host for egregious untruths or political activity?

Chairman Mao would be proud of the cultural purification still underway in the USA as a result of corporate takeover of our media.

P.S. I long ago stopped watching or listening to idiots like Olbermann, OReilly, Beck, Matthews, Maddow, Hannity, Limbaugh. They ALL should be fired IMO for their blatant mistruths and lies and agendas.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Or Ms. Huffington could be expanding her liberal, progressive empire and could be looking to force us all to watch the likes of Maddow, Olbermann, Hayes etc.

how bout we watch to see how it plays out before we start with the conspiracy theories, k?

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 7, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Merging with AOL should be at least as beneficial for HuffPo as it was for TimeWarner.

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 7, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Merging with AOL should be at least as beneficial for HuffPo as it was for TimeWarner.

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 7, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I have been forcibly exposed to Faux at government owned sites (NASA) while the Dems controlled the Congress. It was the only thing that was on 24/7, except during NASA missions.
A name?
How about Johnson Space Center near White Sands, New Mexico, just outside of Las Cruces New Mexico, 2006-2010?

Can you name me a place where you are forced to watch MSNBC?

Posted by: grat_is | February 7, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I have been to Third World, and second world countries.
And I have been to areas of Los Angeles, and New York, where I am reminded very much of the shanty towns in Mexico and Myannmar.

I have also been to industrialized countries like Norway and Luxembourg, and many countries in Europe.

I have not read Third World America. I have seen too much of it to need further exposure to this reality.
Get out of your house and look around.

Posted by: grat_is | February 7, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Great news for me! I often find myself logging on to AOL after driving my Studebaker to the airport where I wait to catch a PanAm flight.

Posted by: dpurp | February 7, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I feel pretty underwhelmed by this deal, and think the attention it has received is mostly due to media navel-gazing.

$300 million? Pocket change. That's the price for a lesser known professional franchise, and if the Sacramento Kings were sold tomorrow I doubt we'd see it all over the front pages.

Posted by: CarlosXL | February 7, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse


i guess you missed my next line which all but said it was a snarky comment directed towards lauren's previous comment.

I guess next time i need to put in the "THIS IS SNARK" reference. I guess I'm not as good at it as dpurp is.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 7, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"I have been to Third World, and second world countries.
And I have been to areas of Los Angeles, and New York, where I am reminded very much of the shanty towns in Mexico and Myannmar."

yes, we have "areas" that are very poor, in this country, but to characterize the united states, as "being" like mexico and myannmar, is not a credible comparison.

"I have not read Third World America. I have seen too much of it to need further exposure to this reality.
Get out of your house and look around."

i am out of my house and looking around a great deal.
and spend quite a lot of time in a rescue mission....spending time with people who have been rescued off of the streets, from some of the worst situations and places.
have also seen and worked in areas of poverty, throughout my life.
there are areas of poverty here, but to characterize the united states as a third world country, is an untrue statement.
i have spent much of my life in urban areas, and working in poor areas....and i have never seen the kind of poverty in los angeles, new york city or newark, or other areas i have lived in or worked i have on the streets of brazil, or some of the cities. bands of children running wild and living in city parks.

so i dont think you offer a credible comparison.

Posted by: jkaren | February 7, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

My feeling is that Felix Salmon has no idea what he is talking about!

Notice AOL paid 300 million in cash and only 15 million in stock. That tells you several things

1 The most restrictive gun laws in the nation still can't prevent all armed robbery.

2 Huffington is much smarter than either Steve Case or Gerald Levin

3 This deal which comsumed 40% of AOL's cash is probably the final nail in the coffin that will bury AOL

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 7, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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