Tuesday, February 08, 2011


AOL to acquire dumpster full of garbage

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that AOL will pay $315 million for the Huffington Post, using this headline:

Betting on News, AOL Is Buying The Huffington Post

The problem here is that the HuffPo hasn’t been news in several years, if it ever was at all. I used to follow it in my feed reader, occasionally finding things of interest, but at least for the last three of its less than six years, it’s just been full of pointers to other people’s news, inane commentary, new-age silliness, quackery, and other junk. I stopped following it at all well over two years ago.

AOL apparently hasn’t. To be sure, there are things to be found there that are worth reading — I just don’t find it worth panning through the pebbles to find those few bits of pyrite, and there certainly isn’t anything that rates as gold. But with AOL’s content coming up even emptier, I guess the acquisition will be some sort of a boost, at least.

But news? Not unless something changes. Not unless Ms Huffington tosses the likes of Deepak Chopra and the other crazies that post there, and goes back to the substantive commentary that she used to have more of than now.

And it will be up to Ms H, indeed; according to the report:

Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group. The arrangement will give her oversight not only of AOL’s national, local and financial news operations, but also of the company’s other media enterprises like MapQuest and Moviefone.

By handing so much control over to Ms. Huffington and making her a public face of the company, AOL, which has been seen as apolitical, risks losing its nonpartisan image. Ms. Huffington said her politics would have no bearing on how she ran the new business.

Well, best of luck to AOL’s new Huffington Post Media Group, but I, at least, am more skeptical than the HuffPo has ever been.

No comments: