Patrick Gavin reports for the website Politico: This week's news that AOL would acquire Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post website is causing some nervousness among progressives who fret what the move means for the future of their message, since the website has traditionally been viewed as a liberal — and, perhaps more important, popular — counterpart to the more conservative Drudge Report.
I haven't yet commented on AOL's takeover of Huffington Post. I've been standing on the sidelines, waiting to see how much marrow that dog sucks out of the bone. But one of HuffPo's feature writers, Jason Linkins, has sacrificed precious time from cosseting the media empress to explain to us sad clueless bloggers the Importance of Being an Earnest Author for Arianna's Online Empire.
Below, I have juxtaposed Linkins' rigorous itinerary with my own modest approach to citizen journalism.
Linkins writes: "Being a paid employee comes with many expectations and responsibilities. Let's run some of them down, shall we?"
Propup: Being an unpaid blogger comes with few expectations and no responsibilities. I just stuck two french fries up my nose.
"First of all, there's this expectation that on a daily basis, you will show up and do work. In an office and everything!"
Sometimes I type blog posts while sitting on the toilet. I apologize for the image that evokes, but needs must when the devil drives.
"There you are subject to things like deadlines - you actually have to produce writing on a regular basis."
I try to add fresh content every 24 hours. I used to brood if I missed a day - but no longer. Shortly before the spine surgery when I was taking more pain meds than Rush Limbaugh and Lindsay Lohan combined, I was obliged to abandon my daily schedule. (You might notice some grammatically horrifying blog posts from June and July of 2010.) Since recovering from the operation and being pain-free for the first time in eight years, I am able to enjoy life again. If I miss a day or two on the laptop, the world doesn't end.
"You receive assignments, from editors, that you are expected to fulfill in a timely fashion."
My posts are inspired by news reports and progressive websites, although Art and Greg occasionally toss out topics for consideration - or a reader will email me with an idea that pricks my interest.
"You participate in editorial meetings. You coordinate your efforts with your colleagues."
If I'm puzzling over a particular stylistic device, I may try out alternative phrasings on Sugar or Maggie Moose.
"You try to break news. You try to cultivate sources. You go, whenever you are able, to where news is occurring."
Like packaged meat, I don't travel particularly well - although I am looking forward to searching for farm property before the end of this month. As things stand, there are four homesteads our realtor plans to show us in the coming weeks. Next year, I hope to be cultivating crops not news sources.
In a recent conference call with reporters, Ms. Huffington (not unlike President Obama) twisted a knife into the backs of her liberal followers by crooning: "We don't see ourselves as Left." When someone that has long presented themselves as a progressive voice suddenly disavows your shared ideology, it hurts. You feel betrayed. But there is not much you can do about it. I will probably continue perusing HuffPo's website - at least until (as happened with Politico) the comments section becomes overwhelmed by radical right-wingers and their hateful brethren. Once this occurs, HuffPo contributors (again, similar to Politico) will be composing essays aimed at America's misinformed mainstream masses. At that point I'll assume Ms. Huffington views my custom as unnecessary, and I'll head for greener, er, bluer pastures.