Once the shock wore off and the talk died down about how much money Arianna Huffington was making from the Aolington Post purchase speculation has been on the rise about how Arianna’s left-leaning politics will mesh with Aol.
In anticipation of this it looks like Aol’s Politics Daily has lost its first writer. Matt Lewis is jumping ship to join Tucker Carlson‘s Daily Caller. In his farewell post Lewis writes:
It occurs to me that AOL has vastly underestimated the public perception (I would argue the accurate impression) that Huffington is a far-left liberal.
Obviously, I am more than happy to write for a mainstream news outlet where differing opinions are allowed to flourish, but I am less comfortable with the notion of being permanently affiliated with an overtly left-of-centre (sometimes activist) outlet.As a conservative (albeit, an admittedly iconoclastic one), it is vital that I maintain the freedom to call them like I see them.
Other conservatives or libertarians might make a different call, and I would not disparage them for doing so.
Uh huh. This is likely a smart move for Lewis since shortly after the HuffPo was made public it was announced that Aol’s Politics Daily would be shuttered and folded into the political coverage HuffPo provides, much of which is from writers who aren’t paid. By doing this Lewis gets to jump ship before the company wide shakedowns begin and frame it as an ideological decision.
Whether or not there’s a real concern that Arianna is going to turn Aol into a liberal-leaning organisation I think is less certain.
Without question HuffPo has had a strong liberal slant since it launched; during 2008 essentially became a cheerleading section for Obama. But one suspects that was just as much as matter of smart timing on Arianna’s part as anything. Sometime in 2009 when rah-rah Obama stopped generating quite as many page clicks readers quickly began to see an injection of anti-Obama in HuffPo’s big headlines.
Don’t forget Huffington used to be a conservative commentator in the mid-nineties during the height of the Clinton years. This is a woman whose political beliefs are tied more to a sharp business sense than ideology. And that’s not an insult, by the way. Aol will be whatever Arianna thinks will make it most successful and that will probably depend on which way she thinks the wind is blowing when she steps into the drivers seat.
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