Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's Just Good Capitalism

Huffington Post bloggers lost their multi-million dollar lawsuit last week against AOL Inc.

AOL paid out hundreds of millions to Post founder Arianna Huffington. She declined to share any proceeds with her writers, who contributed for free. AOL Inc. also offered no money.

Huffington and AOL Inc. played this like good capitalists. Huffington created and shaped a market for left wing news and analysis. She brought in writers whose content helped to build her blog into one of the most prominent and respected outlets in the media world. The Post was a model for other online entities looking at ways to monetize news. TownHall.com runs in a similar fashion on the right.

The Huffington Post gave those writers exposure to a broad market, but never promised compensation. Its business model allowed for the founders to make scads of money using writers willing to put out a few hundred words for the experience and exposure alone. This is why traditional print is dying out!

All of this was very clear. So why the outrage among writers?

They are liberals and leftists and do not understand the business model. This lawsuit comes from hurt feelings more than anything else. Huffington sold them a left wing bill of goods. Her Post was to be a bastion of anti-free market intellectuals who would rail against corporate greed. They believed the hype and the hypocrite.

Huffington had no legal reason to share anything, however, she exposed herself and her former publication to charges of at least moral double-dealing. She fought the free market system, then profited immensely off of that fight. Her writers had no right to expect compensation, though. This blemish goes on her Machiavellianism and their naivete.

Conservatives can wake up with a clean conscience because they are honest in this sense. There is an understanding that a business exists to make a profit that will reward its investors and owners, as well as anyone else directly employed. A conservative writer, if he felt like he deserved to be paid for his work, would go out and find someone willing to pay. He or she would not gnash their teeth when they did not get a handout.

The Huffington Post will not suffer for this. They have built a strong reputation as a reliable news outlet. Their credentials as good leftists, however, are gone forever.

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