It has been nine months since the AOL/Huffington Post merger and by many accounts things could be better. But despite improving earnings, many see the business model under the leadership of Arianna Huffington as unsustainable.
However, New York magazine’s Vanessa Grigoriadis has a slightly different take on the Huffington Post, post-merger. In a Nov. 20 piece, Grigoriadis suggests that since AOL and the Huffington Post united under Huffington’s direction, the left-of-center website has changed it tone to a more “red-state-friendly” theme:
Huffington’s own thread has seemed to follow a similarly circuitous path, from right to left and now seeming to bend back, making the Huffington Post’s political leanings a bit more red-state-friendly for the AOL culture—though one could argue that, in fact, she’s never been that far left. She’s not anti-capitalist (just anti-looting), and she also lacks the left’s faith in the government’s ability to run things. Huffington says now that she is disappointed in Obama and could even see herself voting Republican in the next presidential election. “To me,” she says, “the issues are more important than the party.” She pauses. “Trust me, I realize how hard it is to change the system, but Obama has demonstrated only the fierce urgency of sometime later, and at the same time the middle class is under assault”—she smiles “which is of course the topic of my last book.”
But there is evidence to suggest that’s not the case with the Huffington Post over the last nine months, whether it has been commentary on social issues like abortion, favorable coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests or the more memorable dust-up that resulted in Andrew Breitbart being banished from the site’s front page.
And according to Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor, such a proclamation from New York magazine about change in tone from the Huffington Post is baseless.
“Only in New York would they think the wildly left, anti-right content of Huffington Post is somehow ‘red-state-friendly,’” Gainor told The Daily Caller. “Yes, Arianna made a fortune off of duping her liberal buddies into writing for free. But even a casual glance at the site makes it obvious that HuffPo views conservatives and Republicans as nothing more than targets. For AOL to have an election strategy run by Huffington is like giving Democrats 1,300 more journalists guaranteed to be working for Team Obama.”
Since acquiring the Huffington Post, AOL (NYSE:AOL) stock has taken a hit and is trading down 25 percent of what it was trading when the merger was announced back on March 7.