“AOL Wagers on Arianna Huffington in `Shoot The Moon’ Purchase,” the newsite founded by Mike Bloomberg notes:
AOL Inc.’s deal to purchase the Huffington Post is more than a bet on the website’s financial prospects. It’s a wager on the ability of co-founder Arianna Huffington to build an online media empire, analysts say.
Under the $315 million acquisition agreement, Huffington, 60, will join AOL and become president and editor-in-chief of a newly formed media group. In the position, she’ll oversee all of New York-based AOL’s content, from the TechCrunch blog to the Patch local news sites to new content initiatives.
While the goal is to help AOL become a more powerful force in online advertising, there’s a risk in putting Huffington in charge of editorial, said Rob Enderle, a San Jose, California- based technology consultant. Her political views, often critical of corporations and Republicans, may be polarizing, he said.
Still, Huffington may be able to help AOL build a media organization with a distinct and successful voice similar to the approach News Corp. has used with Fox News, Enderle said.
“Yes, she’s got political views, but gosh, look how political views have worked for Fox,” Enderle said in an interview. “There’s certainly the opportunity to create a much more powerful liberal voice in the country. The fact that it hasn’t been done yet, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”
How powerful a liberal voice? So powerful that Arianna’s already beginning the inevitable “don’t call us liberal” kabuki dance:
The Huffington Post may have been founded as the liberal answer to the conservative Drudge Report, a place for progressive wound-licking in the wake of George W. Bush’s re-election.
But on Monday, Arianna Huffington was distancing herself from the lefty label as she announced the sale of HuffPost to AOL for $315 million.
“We don’t see ourselves as left,” she told POLITICO. “And I think it’s one area where news consumers are ahead of the media, because they know that continuing to see everything that’s happening as a right-left issue is missing what’s happening, and is also making it much harder for us to be properly informed.”
This is going to end well.