The AOL-Huffington Post merger destroys one media outlet that had plenty of conservative commentary and creates a potentially massive new liberal news portal that will reach as many as 100 million Americans a month.
New York Times:
The two companies completed the sale Sunday evening and announced the deal just after midnight on Monday. AOL will pay $315 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. It will be the company's largest acquisition since it was separated from Time Warner in 2009.
The deal will allow AOL to greatly expand its news gathering and original content creation, areas that its chief executive, Tim Armstrong, views as vital to reversing a decade-long decline.
Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, will take control of all of AOL's editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group. The arrangement will give her oversight not only of AOL's national, local and financial news operations, but also of the company's other media enterprises like MapQuest and Moviefone.
By handing so much control over to Ms. Huffington and making her a public face of the company, AOL, which has been seen as apolitical, risks losing its nonpartisan image. Ms. Huffington said her politics would have no bearing on how she ran the new business.
Ms. Huffington is one of the most aggressively partisan presences on the web, so her statement that "politics would have no bearing" on what appeared on the websites is a crock. Even if she's sincere, she doesn't know how to be non-partisan. In the 3 decades she has been commenting as a pundt, she has never once demonstrated one ounce of balance or even handedness in her take on the news. Why should anyone believe her now?
Every effort by conservatives to come up with a news portal to match Huffpo has failed. We better get busy. The left just got a big boost in connecting with the average American and with the 2012 elections coming up, you can expect they'll exploit this advantage for all that it's worth.