Jeff Dunetz takes a look this week at the long game being played by Arianna Huffington after the highly profitable sale of HuffPo. The real story, apparently, has little to do with her old site or with AOL, but with the less noted patch.com.
Four months ago, AOL gave to Arianna Huffington $315 million and the keys to its news operations as part of their purchase of her progressive internet behemoth. At the time I contended that the most significant news property to be controlled by the Huffington Post’s progressive machine was the least known, Patch.com, a network of 500+ hyper-local websites covering 800 communities which combines national/regional information with local community news editors filing stories and updating community-specific within the communities they serve. The Patch network is concentrated mostly in the larger states.
Apparently, Ms. Huffington isn’t making any bones about it either.
“We are going to dramatically accelerate this in 2012,” said Huffington, who discussed the idea on a conference call yesterday with Patch.com employees. “We will have thousands and thousands of people covering the election. Covering the Republicans. Covering the Democrats. Just being transparent about it.”
From there, Dunetz goes on to ask whether or not somebody in Arianna’s position could “fairly” cover both sides of the election. I’m not entirely sure, of course, but I can only assume that our old friend Jeff was engaging in just a bit of snark there. But then, it’s not like we’re exposing some vast left wing conspiracy here. I’m not sure how many people could take a look at any information coming off such a network and confuse it CSPAN.
Money talks. And Arianna’s got enough of it to do a lot of speaking. Let’s face it… the argument up to this point has been that money is fair game in political speech and that goes for both sides. This is predictable, but not particularly sinister.