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Huffington Post and AOL Sued By Content Serfs

For years, an army of nine thousand bloggers toiled in the hot and sweaty fields of the Huffington Post, generating content without compensation, in exchange for the promise of “exposure.”  Eventually Arianna Huffington decided to expose herself to $315 million by selling the Post to America Online, where her management skills have helped many other writers to become “unpaid contributors.” 

The people who created that $315 million worth of content are not happy with this state of affairs.  Led by “labor activist and former Huffington Post blogger Jonathan Tasini,” Fox News reports they have filed a class action suit against the Post and its new owners at AOL, seeking $105 million in damages.

Tasini calls Huffington a “hypocrite” for making millions off “a brand decrying the growing divide between the rich and poor that she’s now helping to create,” and is suing her “for the sake of class warfare.”  It’s always fun to watch the cold, dead fish of reality smack a liberal in the face.  It’s even funnier when a hardcore liberal ideologue is the one swinging the fish.

I’d agree with Tasini that the hypocrisy of raking in millions from a plantation staffed by volunteer class warriors is deplorable.  Liberals should stop falling for that nonsense immediately.  Paying them millions of dollars they’re not entitled to will not teach the necessary lesson.  If “hypocrisy” is worth millions of dollars in damages, we can wipe out the federal deficit by suing Michael Moore.

Tasini is organizing an electronic “picket line” against the Post, which is fair enough.  If he can convince writers not to contribute to the enterprise out of anger at the way he and his associates were treated, more power to him.  If that pressure eventually leads Huffington to have a change of heart, voluntarily shower them with millions, and return all the stolen Christmas presents to Whoville, great. 

I don’t see how the courts can declare his voluntary participation in the Post as an unpaid blogger, an agreement he was not tricked or pressured into making, became null and void when the content he created suddenly became more valuable.  It always had value, since the Post generated revenue using the same methods as most commercial websites.

It would be a shame to see the perfect business model of the Obama era – an ideologically reliable, well-connected member of the aristocracy raking in big bucks, while the people who did the work learn to make do with less – come to ruin in a sour-grapes lawsuit.

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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