The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

News From the HuffPo ‘Veal Pen’

Posted on | May 24, 2011 | 22 Comments

In 2009, lefty blogger Jane Hamsher used the phrase “veal pen” to describe the way liberals had surrendered their autonomy to the Obama administration.

Lefty blogger Matt Osborne invoked the phrase while describing his decision to delete his archived articles at Huffington Post:

I see the point many of the 9,000 or so unpaid contributors have made about deserving some kind of compensation, even at a token rate per post, as thanks for building the product she has sold for a fortune. But it wasn’t personal avarice that led me to this; I don’t desire any part of Arianna Huffington’s AOL millions, for in my mind that money is cursed. Just ask Ted Turner.
Instead, my participation in HuffPuff — the growing online rebellion against Arianna and her newly-mintworthy media empire that began at the Adbusters website in February — is the culmination of many months of disillusionment and growing disgust. The sale of Huffington Post represents exactly the sort of “veal pen captivation scheme” that firebagging lefties constantly project on anyone with the temerity to question their paranoid conspiracy theories and character assassinations.

Exactly what Osborne intends to signify by the expression “firebagging lefties,” I’m not sure. Obsorne seems to have an overblown sense of his own importance, and his interpretations of Arianna Huffington’s politics are dubious. Nevertheless, Osborne is correct that what Huffington sold to AOL was a readership, including readers of  uncompensated contributors such as himself. Rather than filing lawsuits against HuffPo, however, he has asserted his own autonomy by deleting his previous HuffPo contributions (transferring the posts to his own domain) and encouraging others to do the same.

Let Arianna choke on her ill-gotten gains. Just don’t let her claim ownership of your uncompensated work. Ayn Rand would understand.

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