Mayhill Fowler's Farewell From Huffpo Prompts a Hypocritical Reaction

When blogger Mayhill Fowler quoted Barack Obama and Bill Clinton saying things they never would have said had they known they'd be quoted on the record, her editors at the Huffington Post couldn't have been more pleased. But when she pulled a Mayhill Fowler on those same editors, they were considerably less delighted.

Fowler, the citizen journalist whose on-the-scene reporting resulted in what was immediately termed "Bittergate," has left Huffpo, saying she's no longer willing to blog for free. In her farewell post, Fowler scorched some earth, calling Arianna Huffington "the quintessential opportunist" who treats her non-famous writers as disposable, and suggesting that Huffington's claims to be building an online "community" are just so much hot air.

Huffpo quickly struck back. A spokesman debunked Fowler's "resignation" -- "How do you resign from a job you never had?" -- and accused her of being the real opportunist. "At the end of the day, Mayhill Fowler asked for a paid position; we chose not to offer her one," he wrote. " [S]he is trying to turn that rejection into something that exemplifies a fault line between new media practices and traditional media practices. Hardly."

Golden Parachute of Publicity

Of course Fowler is trying to make her departure into a big fat deal. Huffington has always said that she pays her non-professional bloggers in visibility rather than dollars. Fowler is, in essence, just trying to maximize her golden parachute of publicity.

But the funniest part of this back-and-forth is how put out Huffpo was by Fowler's decision to print her email exchange with her editor, Roy Sekoff. Even though Sekoff didn't say anything especially embarrassing, Huffpo's spokesman felt the need to admonish Fowler publicly -- perhaps as a warning to other Huffpo bloggers who might someday be tempted to do the same? "[I]n the future, she should refrain from publishing private emails with her editors without their permission," he wrote. "This happens to be both an old media and a new media ground rule."

I am reminded of Dennis Kneale lecturing The Daily Beast's Peter Lauria for his rudeness in publishing an incriminating voicemail left by Sumner Redstone. In this case, however, there's an added layer of hypocrisy, Huffpo having been only too happy to benefit from Fowler's disregard for journalistic niceties -- such as the time she hid a recorder in her cleavage while talking to Clinton. Not so fun to be on the other end, is it?

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Is this really news? AOL you would be better suited if you and here are some great topics, the brewing mortgage/foreclosure moratorium brewing -- 23 states have/and are investigate banks alleged illegal paperwork and fraudulent consumer practices. What is this nation doing about real employment? Has anyone from your news org. talked to the top 10 or 20 companies to see if they are hiring. That would be newsworthy and a great public help for those looking. How are the states/and counties/parishes doing under the strain of the economic dare I say recovery summer? PA is not doing very well, and it's counties are faring worse. NJ is just barely holding on too, and newly elected Gov. Corzine is looking for ways to cut pennies. I mean these are news stories.

September 29 2010 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who cares about Huffpo and Fowler ? Blogs are a waste of time it seems to me !

September 29 2010 at 6:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

They should put it in the dictionary: Liberal = Left = Hypocrite

September 29 2010 at 4:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I still drive an SUV, and I'm still not a terrorist.

September 28 2010 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Huffington Post is not a valid source of real journalistic achievement. They should take notes on Fox News. They are a valid fair and balanced news reporting entity while also having a self described not hidden group of politically saavy shows that are more concerned with reporting truth about our leaders than to make headlines.

September 28 2010 at 4:08 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to parthenon1's comment

Right on Brother !

September 28 2010 at 11:03 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Parthenon1 - You don't really believe that Fox News presents a fair and balanced perspective, do you? Frankly, I don't trust anything that I read or hear from any one source. I agree with you that the Huffington Post is not necessarily a valid source, but I approach Fox News with the same skepticism...

September 29 2010 at 8:54 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Let's see: Huffington makes a ton of money from her site yet doesn't pay her bloggers. Damn, according to her analysis you would think she was a Republican. After all, they are the ones who get rich off the backs of their workers. At least that is the slant of her site.

September 28 2010 at 2:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to midamerfrn's comment

Amen, Sister !

September 28 2010 at 11:04 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply