Huffington Post had an unlikely ally today — Dan Abrams, founder of digital media company Abrams Media, wrote a post on Mediaite defending Huffington Post from the hoardes of unpaid bloggers who are supposedly poised to go on strike against the giant aggregator.
Last week, the Newspaper Guild and its 26,000-member union called for all unpaid Huffington Post bloggers to withhold their work in support of a “strike” launched earlier this year by the art publication Visual Arts Source, whose writers had previously contributed free content to the Post.
Abrams’ problem with this move is the timing:
But why the public cry for a strike now? What happened last week? [...] Maybe, in the words of the Newspaper Guild, because the outcry comes “in the wake of its $315 million merger with AOL.” Ah. So it’s the fact that Huffington Post now has a distinct and clear numerical value?
Abrams doesn’t give let aggregation go entirely free of charge — he writes that “it’s also true that aggregation has had a disastrous effect on newspapers and I believe journalism as a whole.” But unlike the New York Times‘ Bill Keller (who really, really hates aggregation, and holds Huffington Post mostly responsible for its pervasiveness), Abrams says that “with or without Huffington Post, newspapers would be suffering the precise fate they are today.”
The problem is not Huffington Post in particular, says Abrams, but the broader problem of the Internet. So, he advises us all, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
It seems like new media is sticking up for its own.