AOL Buys Huffpo
Arianna Huffington cashes out. This is the American dream baby, make something, then sell it to a soulless corporation which stands against everything you claim to stand for. What do you care? You’ve cashed out.
Cashing out is one of the biggest problems with American style business, actually. Capitalism operating well requires making it difficult to cash out. Cashing out almost always includes the creation of significant debt, debt which does not create new economic activity but which only weighs down the companies involved. When it does not (as is largely the case here, to AOLs credit), it still means that money is used for ownership changes rather than to create new economic activity.
As for Arianna, it’s been clear for a while that Huffpo was becoming less and less progressive or liberal and more and more a business for business sakes. The model for Huffpo was always that the entertainment and gossip news would drive the traffic, that traffic would slop over into the more progressive and political writing, and would pay for it.
In other words, the entertainment pays for the politics, just as in the old days, news on the big networks was either a loss loser or not particularly profitable compared to other types of programming. When the MBA types took over, that meant turning the news into “infotainment”, or segregating into cable, a niche market. Because there is only one value in post Reagan business in America: making money. Anything which interferes with making the most money possible (for you, not for your shareholders, don’t make me laugh) must be gotten rid of.
As for Arianna, she got her second payday. Hope the price she was paid was worth what she sold to get it.
All that said, AOL has been doing some interesting things lately, such as their emphasis on local news. We’ll see how it plays out. Having watched Huffpos changes over the years, however, I am not sanguine.