AOL begins its Arianna era
On Monday, AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post was finalized. Not coincidentally, the company's stock sank to its lowest price ever. The stock fell about 4% on Monday, ending about 33% below its 12 month high. Seeking to revitalize its sorely faded luster, AOL must now rely upon the combined vision of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and Arianna Huffington, who is now president and editor-in-chief of the new Huffington Media Group.
If Arianna brings the same deadly acumen to the HMG that she has demonstrated in her previous ventures, you'll be able to pick up AOL out of the penny stock bin before long. As a matter of fact, enticing $315 million out of Mr. Armstrong and his pals is about the only unsullied business move yet by the flip-flopping Greek divorcee.
Arianna gained renown as a writer in the 1980's with biographies of Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso. Unfortunately, charges of plagiarism regarding her work followed almost immediately. In fact, plagiarism charges against her Callas book were settled out of court in 1981 for an amount "in the low five figures. Apparently during her stint in the Joe Biden School of Creative Writing, Arianna must have skipped the classes regarding avoidance of payment for your literary filching.
In her first American incarnation, Arianna surfaced as the beaming bride of a guy we thought was a conservative California Republican, Michael Huffington. They married in 1986, and Arianna campaigned vigorously for her hubby, calling for smaller government and courting religious conservatives. Michael won a seat in Congress and went on to campaign ,with his wife's assistance, for a seat in U.S. Senate, spending many millions of the family's petro-fortune. Unfortunately he lost to Dianne Feinstein. After nearly ten years of living and working with the golden-tressed Greek, somehow Michael decided he was bi-sexual. He has since become a major advocate for gay and LGBT causes.
Undaunted by the hiccups in what any sane person might call a rather checkered career, Arianna decided that she would throw her over-sized hat into the political ring herself. In California's recall election of Gray Davis, the unflappable Arianna ran for governor as an independent. Describing herself as the "Prius" in the race in contrast to Arnold Schwarzenegger as the "Hummer," she showed up for the first debate on September 24, 2003 and was out of the race by September 30. Leaving her name on the ballot, she eventually captured 0.55% of the vote. Arianna still has a lock on the same percentage of the hearts and minds of Americans -- although her followers seem to be a rather vocal ones.
Together with Democrat party shill, Kenneth Lerer and "viral marketing hot-dog" Jonah Peretti, Arianna, the only American newsmaker with a Bela Lugosi accent, launched the Huffington Post in May of 2005. Although an apparently solid conservative in the early 90's, it seems as Arianna's physical charms diminished with time, her political views shifted leftward accordingly. Now she looks and writes like Maureen Dowd's older and even less attractive sister.
The Huffpo rapidly developed into a sort of Daily Kos on steroids with make-up and lots of celebrity journalism. Rather like the love child of MSNBC and E!, the Huffington Post combines the same whiny drivel generated on GE's Democrat house organ network with vacuous claptrap from and about celebrities who fashion themselves serious.. Through skillful fund-raising and quality marketing assistance, Arianna has managed to create precisely the right vehicle to entice one last bone-headed merger out of AOL before it can be officially flushed down the corporate toilet. If you thought the Time-Warner AOL merger a dog, wait until you see how rapidly Arianna Huffington's business acumen brings AOL to its corporate knees.
Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker.