Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged huffington post

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Journalism. You’re doing it wrong, HuffPo. The Pentagon has never “lavished” benefits upon the military. Let me bust out the dictionary:

Lav·ish: To expend or give in great amounts or without limit

Synonyms: abundant, bountiful, copious, effusive, exaggerated, excessive, extravagant, exuberant, first-class, free, generous, gorgeous, grand, immoderate, impressive, improvident, inordinate, intemperate, liberal, lush, luxuriant, luxurious, munificent, openhanded, opulent, plentiful, plush, posh, prodigal, profligate, profusive, prolific, riotous, ritzy, sumptuous, swanky, thriftless, unreasonable, unrestrained, unsparing, unstinging, wasteful, wild

Yeah, I don’t think any of that describes military benefits. I left my pal’s comment for that reason. I was about to send HuffPo a nastygram, but then I clicked through to the link from Facebook.

Obviously, some folks pulled their heads out of their asses and fixed this, but now it sounds inaccurate and odd. The first sentence went from: “For more than a decade, Congress and the Pentagon have lavished money on the nation’s 1.3 million active-duty troops…” to “For more than a decade, Congress and the Pentagon have spent money on the nation’s 1.3 million active-duty troops…”

Trust me, we’ve been spending money on the troops for more than a decade. And do you think this funding boost could possibly be due to, oh, I don’t know, two wars that have become quagmires? I bet it’s harder to keep people enlisted without providing these so-called “lavish” benefits. I wouldn’t consider refurbished houses and family counseling “lavish,” but that’s just me. You know what was lavish, HuffPo?


Oh, and this:


Behold, The Huffington Post’s Oasis from the 2012 Republican National Convention. I’ll admit, I took advantage of the free massage, makeup touch up, mini-facial and organic juice. It was pretty lavish. And from what I remember in my military career, I didn’t have the cash for lavish things like that. I bet there’s a majority of people enlisted in the military who would dig a chance to chill at a HuffPo Oasis. We reporters sure did. Thanks for lavishing these perks on us!

Bonus lavish photo! Here’s that one time Arianna Huffington cut in front of me for a makeup touch up. I ain’t even mad:


Filed under Journalism FAIL journalism journalismism journalismismism Huffington Post HuffPo Politics media military leave your thesaurus alone

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I’ve written numerous times about why people should boycott Huffington Post. The most important reason is that currently, by supporting Huffington Post and sharing their content, you’re essentially crossing a picket line.
Plus, they’re just, well, terrible. One of my friends emailed me this breaking news alert from the entertainment section. It was forwarded from her mom, who wrote: “Who F’n cares?!? These girls have contributed NOTHING to our society! Maybe they could write about the celebrities at Occupy Wall Street instead. At least they’re bringing attention to the struggle!!!”
So yes, it’s a news alert that Barack Obama is not a fan of the Kardashians. 

I’ve written numerous times about why people should boycott Huffington Post. The most important reason is that currently, by supporting Huffington Post and sharing their content, you’re essentially crossing a picket line.

Plus, they’re just, well, terrible. One of my friends emailed me this breaking news alert from the entertainment section. It was forwarded from her mom, who wrote: “Who F’n cares?!? These girls have contributed NOTHING to our society! Maybe they could write about the celebrities at Occupy Wall Street instead. At least they’re bringing attention to the struggle!!!”

So yes, it’s a news alert that Barack Obama is not a fan of the Kardashians. 

Filed under Kardashians Barack Obama really? Huffington Post Huff Po entertainment politics seriously? celebrities

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Huffington Post Recruiting Children As Unpaid Writers

Late Friday afternoon, The Huffington Post announced its latest way to get free content from writers. According to Forbes, “The Huffington Post’s best response to those critics who accuse it of exploiting writers by not paying them has always been the libertarian one: Within the boundaries of the law, consenting adults are free to enter into whatever sorts of arrangements they choose, even one that involves donating their labor to a for-profit corporation. But what about when those writers aren’t adults?” Yes, that’s right, kids as young as 13 are being invited to provide content for Patch, which is run by the Huffington Post Media Group.

Today on Advertising Age, “Patch ‘is churning out one piece of content every 9 seconds.’” That’s what this is about, folks: churn. Page views. And getting unpaid children to help AOL shovel content - digital coal - into its page-view oven. Quite simply, AOL/HuffPo intends to monetize the work of minors earning $0/hour. On Patch and HuffPost High School, it will sell ads against content created by minors - but it will not share advertising revenue with those minors.”

The National Writers Union is committed to establishing a living wage for all freelance writers. For more campaign updates, sign up at

This is just plain wrong. At least give them a savings bond or something, Arianna. Here’s more info on the boycott of Huffington Post.

Filed under Huffington Post boycott union National Writers Union digital picket line never cross a picket line Pay the Writer politics children

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Hey, are you a designer? Have you spent years perfecting your craft? Do you want to work for a company with a billion-dollar market cap… for absolutely no money? Do you want to participate in a steel-cage death match with your creative peers… with absolutely no assurance of success? Do you want to devote hours of work to a project that may never see the light of day… never, never, never? Sure you do! Hell, who wouldn’t? So what are you waiting for? Get in on Huffington Post’s super-neat Politics Icon Competition! If you’re the winner your design will be used to brand HuffPo’s Politics vertical, and you’ll get nothing except the queasy feeling of knowing in your heart that you’ve given your work product away! Sound good?

Forbes Magazine, on Huffington Post’s recent foray into the exploitation of graphic artists and web designers. 

I’ve posted about the virtual picket line before, and this is just another piece of it. The pushback on the spec campaign generated enough heat that Huffington Post released this statement about it:

"We asked fans of HuffPost Politics to submit suggestions for social media icon designs as a fun way of enabling them to express their passion for politics—and for HuffPost. As readers of our site know, we frequently engage our community with requests for feedback and suggestions. So while AOL Huffington Post Media Group employs an in-house team of more than 30 talented designers, we felt this would be a lighthearted way to encourage HuffPost Politics users to express another side of their talents."

Mark Collins, who spearheaded the AntiSpec campaign against Huffington Post, replied with this in AdWeek:

There is nothing ‘lighthearted’ when it comes to the serious task of branding your business. To allow your online identity to be created by anyone with a copy of Photoshop is utter madness. The feedback from the design community is clearly negative towards HuffPost yet the spec comp remains open. It’s time for HuffPost to grow a set, apologise and drop this.

I agree. Even if you’re just starting out, the “exposure” principle (essentially, write/design for us for free and you get exposure) does not put food on the table, nor does it pay the rent. It does, however, allow a multi-million dollar corporation justify exploiting writers and designers who work very hard for low pay.

So, in conclusion, when Forbes even thinks you’re being an asshole, you just might be an asshole.


Filed under Forbes Mark Collins Huffington Post virtual picket line politics spec work anti spec design exploitation

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Virtual Picket Line: Huffington Post

As a new member of the National Writers Union, here’s why you won’t see content from Huff Post on Cognitive Dissonance. I ask my fellow labor-supporting Tumblr folk to honor the virtual picket line. 

Janet Reasoner, NWU, May 25, 2011:

There has been a strike and boycott against the Huffington Post since last March, called by Visual Art Source and the Huffington Post Union of Bloggers and Writers (HPUB), and supported by the National Writers Union (NWU) and the Newspaper Guild (TNG). Please honor the electronic picket line; don’t post and don’t share articles on the Huffington Post until this is resolved.

In February, Arianna Huffington sold Huffington Post (the website and brand) to AOL for $315 million. This was possible in large part because of the work of thousands of unpaid writers and bloggers who made the site/brand what it is.

NWU’s goals in this dispute are:

  1. Get AOL/HuffPo to settle with writers/bloggers we represent for a share of the $315 million sales price;
  1. Set a standard that we can take to other online content providers to get writers paid;
  1. Build a bigger and more powerful NWU;
  1. Win a livable minimum wage for online content creators.

So what’s the big deal?

HuffPo was built on the hugely popular, yet unpaid, bloggers that populated the site with interesting and fresh content every single day. Arianna Huffington says that writers should be glad to write for free in exchange for all the free exposure they get. They can showcase their work and gain a following. That argument held water until Arianna got filthy rich[er] off of the web site and brand that all of these unpaid writers helped her build. Organized labor is about workers being treated fairly. Management/owners should not be able to get rich while treating their employees poorly or not paying them at all

A brief history:

In March of this year, Virtual Art Source ( announced that the 50 writers they represent would no longer be providing free content to HuffPo. According to their site, they are striking for two demands:

  1. A pay schedule must be proposed and steps initiated to implement it for all contributing writers and bloggers.
  2. Paid promotional material must no longer be posted alongside editorial content; a press release or exhibition catalogue essay is fundamentally different from editorial content and must be either segregated and indicated as such, or not published at all.

Ms. Huffington was quoted as saying “The idea of going on strike when no one really notices… Go ahead, go on strike.” (…)

On March 16, the Newspaper Guild posted a piece on their web site ( asking all writers to stop supplying content to HuffPo and for everyone to honor the electronic picket line. On March 21, NWU joined the battle ( stating, “We urge our members and everyone reading this, not to write for HuffPo until they are brought to the bargaining table.”

On April 12, former HuffPo blogger and former NWU President Jonathan Tasini (still a current NWU member) filed a class action lawsuit against Ms. Huffington, Huffington Post, AOL, and Kenneth Lerer in U.S. District Court. The complaint, on behalf of a putative class of over 9,000 writers, asks for at least $105 million in damages for uncompensated writers and bloggers for HuffPo.

What’s happening now?

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard, and UAW International President Bob King are honoring the boycott and support is growing.

There are three Facebook pages devoted to the strike against HuffPo — Union of Huffington Post Writers and Bloggers, Huffington Post Justice Campaign, and “Hey Arianna, Can You Spare a Dime?” On the first page, the Huffington Post Union of Bloggers and Writers (HPUB) have a link to the NWU website urging their members to join NWU. They will be speaking at the DA in Detroit, June 23-26.

Many labor and progressive/liberal folks are still getting the message about the strike and virtual picket line. Just last week, there was a link from a large union’s Facebook page to a HuffPo posting (since taken down after several of us pointed out the problem). Many of you are still likely to see your Facebook friends posting links to HuffPo articles. If you do, please send them the link to this article.

You can also send them the link to the Daily Kos posting, Why I’m Boycotting The Huffington Post, And I Hope You Will Too, from April 2. (…).

Filed under Huffington Post picket line union unions politics exploitation

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HuffPost/AOL now “aggregating” video as well


The Huffington Post tends to be under constant fire for what many call over-aggregating - taking too much content from other sources and making it their own. It’s always been more of an issue with print stories than video, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. The photo above is from a video embedded in a story on HuffPost about Charla Nash, who was attached by a chimpanzee in 2008. While the video is from the Today Show, you can see AOL has placed the video in their own player based on the “AOL” bug in the lower right. Rather than embed the video from The Today Show, Armstrong, Huffington & co. are ripping it straight from the TV, cutting the important parts, and placing it in their own player so the streams & ad views count for AOL - who really seems to need it, since the stock has seen record lows lately.

Here’s the giant splash page NBC created for the story, complete with an embed code for the video. You know, in case anyone wanted to share the story on their own news site/blog and give credit to the creator. -Matt

Arrgh… this is one reason why I joined the National Writers Union. They’ve launched a virtual picket line against Huff Post, which I’ll post in a bit.

(via soupsoup)

Filed under aol huffington post stealing is bad today show blogging union National Writers Union

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Any business owner who uses largely unpaid labor, with a handful of underpaid, nonunion employees, to build a company that is sold for a few hundred million dollars, no matter how he or she is introduced to you on the television screen, is not a liberal or a progressive. Those who take advantage of workers, whatever their outward ideological veneer, to make profits of that magnitude are charter members of the exploitative class. Dust off your Karl Marx. They are the enemies of working men and women. And they are also, in this case, sucking the life blood out of a trade I care deeply about. It was bad enough that Huffington used her site for flagrant self-promotion, although the cult of the self has reached such dizzying proportions in American society that such behavior is almost expected. But there is an even sadder irony that this was carried out in the name of journalism.

Chris Hedges (via azspot)

^^ True story. I’ve quit visiting Huffington Post over this shit.

(via savagemike)

Filed under Chris Hedges Huffington Post exploitation