Arianna Vows Balanced Journalism - and Provides Little But Gush on Wall Street Protest

The Occupy Wall Street crowd squatting in lower Manhattan and elsewhere while the rest of us are working has a not-at-all surprising ally: Arianna Huffington.

The limo liberal epitomized, Huffington is embroiled in a lawsuit with former bloggers who alleged she stiffed them on decent compensation for content at her site.

What a shock that Huffington has sided with protesters who allege that corporate America has stiffed them of decent jobs and is sitting on a ton of wealth instead of hiring the unemployed.

The lawsuit against Huffington was filed in April after AOL bought the left-wing Huffington Post for a cool $315 million two months earlier.

Hmm, building up a business with little market value and eventually selling it for a huge profit. Isn't that what Mitt Romney did, repeatedly, at Bain Capital?

Huffington's legal troubles haven't prevented her from depicting herself as a staunch defender of the so-called "99 percent," one of the more delusional labels the malcontents camped out in lower Manhattan have applied to themselves. As in, the wealthiest 1 percent are screwing everyone else. Except for when they pay that hugely disproportionate share of federal taxes that fund jobless benefits, half-billion dollar loans to failed solar start-ups and population control at Planned Parenthood. Except for then.

Huffington siding with the Starbucks revolutionaries caught the attention of FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter, who write a story yesterday with the headline "AOL News Boss Takes Sides in Wall Street Protest" --

A leading force in online journalism appears to be making a strong effort to be anything but fair and balanced.

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, has become a full-on supporter of the Occupy Wall Street protests -- injecting her endorsement of the demonstrations into her media outlets' coverage of the events in lower Manhattan.

The media baroness has been tweeting and re-tweeting up a storm in support of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and she's been taking shots at the Tea Party and Fox News in the process.

One of those tweets, Winter wrote, was a re-tweet of one by a Twitter user quoting Huffington --

Digital media companies have a great future if they include the best of traditional media: fairness, accuracy, fact checking -- AH [Arianna Huffington]

But where's the fairness in coverage of Occupy Wall Street ? The vast majority of stories and columns on the site are enthusiastic about the protests.

A  sampling from HuffPo's blogger/fans --

"Victory! Transforming Occupy Wall Street From a Moment to a Movement" by Occidental College professor Peter Dreier

"Naomi Klein on Occupy Wall Street: 'The Sky's the Limit' "

"Occupy Wall Street: Fashion in the Streets" by contributor Ellie Krupnick

"Occupy Wall Street Map: Where are the Most Popular Facebook Groups?"

"Occupy Wall Street Mass Arrest Resembles Infamous, Costly Police Tactic, Critics Say" by HuffPo reporter Jason Cherkis

"Occupy Wall Street: How You Can Help" by HuffPo blogger Anna Bahr.

Finding favorable coverage of the Wall Street protest at HuffPo is like throwing a dart at a wall-sized bull's-eye -- little effort is required. Finding critical coverage -- not so easy.

It was only after considerable searching on the site that I found this -- "Occupy Wall Street Doesn't Adequately Represent Struggling Black Population, Experts Say," by HuffPo reporter Janell Ross.

Had I turned up posts suggesting that the protest is an attempt to distract attention from Obama's failure or an effort in all but name for the government to bail out student loan debt, I'd believe Huffington is serious about her vow of "fairness" in reporting. 

Aside from her flurry of tweets and favorable coverage, Huffington has kept a relatively low profile when it comes to Occupy Wall Street.

For example, she mentioned the protests only in passing in her weekly Sunday roundup column on Oct. 9 and hasn't written about them since. In her column, Huffington wrote this -- "Now in its third week, the Occupy Wall Street protests, criticized for lacking a clear objective, now seems only to be growing in strength despite this weekend's arrest of 700 protesters." Gee, thanks for sharing.

Huffington has also been absent from the airwaves when it comes to weighing in on Occupy Wall Street, though she could surely land appearances if so inclined, especially among the kindred spirits at MSNBC.

Instead, Huffington was keynote speaker Thursday night before an audience the Occupy Wall Street types consider odious -- bankers.

Huffington keeping her distance from addressing the protesters in person isn't surprising. Many of them are likely to see her as corporate media incarnate since AOL bought Huffington Post for hundreds of millions of dollars -- and Huffington profited mightily after allegedly short-changing her workers for their labor.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts