In classics class, we were taught to "beware of Greeks bearing gifts." Well, maybe we also should beware of gifting anything to this Greek-born geek. Many fellow journalists now regret their dealings with this opportunistic uber-pundit. Mayhill Fowler, the amateur journalist who stunned the Democratic campaign with a clandestinely-taped quote from Obama about Middle American folks "clinging to guns and religion", got some travel expenses paid but then became disillusioned when no further money came her way. After all , Huffington had simply tweaked the old "Drudge Retort" formula, added interactiveness, big photos and misleading headlines, and cleverly maximized hits through the overuse of slideshows. Frequent posts about the former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin attracted thousands of snarky comments and multitudinous more hits. Advertisers are well pleased. Huffington's army of unpaid reporters and pundits measurably less so. Huffington's "group blog" initially appealed to the egos of moonbats who fancied themselves to be a superior new breed of "citizen journalists", opting for exposure over any payment whatsoever. Youngish voters who caught campaign fever, post-Howard Dean, were competing to contribute, too, as well as reporters fresh out of J-school who needed cyberclips to jumpstart their careers. After eight painful years in the Bush wilderness, many Americans were desperate for change and captivated by Barack Obama's charisma, showcased on the political pages of HuffPo. Eventually,though, some 300 employees came to be on the payroll. Outreach to deeper pockets was inevitable, particularly after Tina Brown's Daily Beast (no relation) high profile merger with Newsweek.
Listen to Nick Denton, who runs Gawker, which now becomes the biggest independent Web-based news outlet. “I’m disappointed in the Huffington Post. I thought Arianna Huffington and Kenny Lerer were reinventing news, rather than simply flipping to a flailing conglomerate,” he told Dan Lyons of The Daily Beast.
Denton insists he has no intention of ever selling Gawker, and he seems not-so-secretly pleased to see his opponents cashing out: “AOL has gathered so many of our rivals— Huffington Post, Engadget, Techcrunch—in one place. The question: Is this a fearsome Internet conglomerate or simply a roach motel for once lively websites?”