Arianna Huffington announced Thursday she is leaving Huffington Post, the sideboob-themed clickbait blog she founded in 2005, in order to launch a “health and wellness” startup.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 11, 2016
Huffington, who made more than $20 million when AOL purchased her website in 2011, appears to be leaving at a good time. There is a tremendous amount of anxiety and uncertainty throughout the media industry, and Huffington Post‘s traffic has tanked as online searches for “sideboob” have leveled off in recent years.
It’s hard out there for a media tycoon these days. Attending awards shows and hanging out with celebrities (and their children and hangers-on) can be exhausting:
Sometimes you have to let a New York Times photographer come take photos of your $8.2 million SoHo pad in order to plug your book about how people, even the ones who aren’t media tycoons and don’t live in opulent mansions, should get more sleep. Why not install some nap pods, for example, during your next remodel?
— Brennan Loh (@bloh) August 11, 2014
Huffington’s contributions to the field of journalism are myriad. We’ll all remember where we were the first time we stumbled upon headlines such as “HOLY SIDEBOOB,” “Nicole Richie Flaunts MAJOR Sideboob,” “Check Out This Huge Awesome Amazing Sideboob,” and “PHOTO: The Return Of Miley Cyrus’ Sideboob.”
These headlines, of course, appear on the same website with stories like “Riveting Video Shows The Harmful Consequences Of Objectifying Women.”
Huffington’s accomplishments in the field of journalistic censorship are also well-documented. Part of being a media tycoon is keeping your lowly employees under control in order to advance more important interests, such as your own and those of your rich friends.
Earlier this year, for example, Huffington killed a story critical of the taxi startup Uber, shortly before she joined the company’s board of directors, because Huffington Post was “partnering with Uber on our drowsy driving campaign.”
Huffington once personally edited an article about HugDug, charity startup founded by one of Huffington’s friends, to remove comments from an industry expert who expressed a skeptical opinion of the company.
A number of Huffington Post writers and editors were even suspended for writing (factual) articles critical of Huffington’s pals. One of the articles, for example, was an aggregation of plagiarism allegations against cocktail party darling Fareed Zakaria.
The suspended employees were presumably paid, unlike many of the authors whose work appears on Huffington Post. As the New York Times reported last year:
Throughout its history, the site’s scale has also depended on free labor. One of Huffington’s most important insights early on was that if you provide bloggers with a big enough stage, you don’t have to pay them
Here’s to hoping Arianna lands on her feet.