Our post yesterday about the news of unpaid bloggers taking the Huffington Post to court inspired some retweets and discussion, including this comment by Nicholas Roberts:
I expect the argument will be “we gave our content in order to build an independently owned, liberal media outlet, with the expectation that the Huff Post would stay that way. When it was sold to perhaps the most mainstream, of the mainstream media i.e. AOL-Time-Warner-CNN media complex, that social contract was broken.” […] The sharecroppers want something more than their “exposure”.
That’s possible, though has the fluff-heavy HuffPo ever come off as all that different from a product of the mainstream media? We’re not talking about Democracy Now or In These Times here.
The Wrap’s Dylan Stableford is also skeptical of the class-action lawsuit filed by Jonathan Tasini, noting that Tasini had a good five years to bring up this issue of bloggers not being paid and that Arianna Huffington has never treated the site’s bloggers as equal to its paid journalists.
That’s the biggest problem, Stableford argues: “It appears Tasini is hoping no one in the Southern District Court of New York has actually reads the Huffington Post — at least enough to recognize the qualitative difference.”
Tasini also told The Washington Post that some bloggers were promised future payment, though he didn’t offer specifics. That’s an intriguing claim, but without some proof it’s hard to know what difference it could make.