HuffPost Hill Bites the Bank That Feeds It

HuffPost Hill, the nightly email produced by Huffington Post’s Washington bureau, took the rivalry between business and editorial to an entirely new and uncomfortable level this week when the newsletter gnawed on one of the hands of its advertisers.   In a strange and ballsy move, the Monday evening edition of HuffPost Hill featured several, seemingly-unwarranted paragraphs trashing Goldman Sachs.  Not so shocking until you take into account that the investment banking giant was also the publication’s sponsor that night.  Ouch!

In a statement to FishbowlDC, Huffington Post admitted that their execution was all wrong but suggested the smack talk was meant in good fun:

The intention wasn’t to attack Goldman, but to have some fun with the idea of Goldman sponsoring HuffPost Hill, which has covered many of the criticisms aimed at the company since the bailout,” said HuffPost SVP Mario Ruiz.  “The HuffPost Hill team thought it was akin to Sarah Palin going on SNL or Nixon going on Laugh-In.  That said, the execution failed to meet that goal and it came across as an attack — something we greatly regret.  As they say: dying is easy, comedy is hard.  This was a satiric FAIL.  And a mistake – one we won’t make again.  Lesson learned,” Ruiz added.

We’re not sure we buy the “satire ate our senses” excuse but we’re fairly certain that someone from HuffPost is groveling to Goldman right now.  See what you think after reading the blurb below:

“NOT A JOKE: GOLDMAN SACHS SPONSORS HUFFPOST HILL – Listen, do-gooder benefactors are all fine and dandy but the damn hippies just weren’t making it rain: Burt’s Bees wasn’t putting up the cheddar, MoveOn is too busy picking a sponsor decal for its NASCAR car (“Hi, I’m Dale Earnhardt Jr. When I’m not racing for the finish line, I’m writing my congressman to demand he oppose the Billionaire Bailout”) and the P-Trip is spending all its cash trying to find Adam Green some decent Bono sunglasses. Besides, our Fred Barnes-hosted HuffPost Hill cruise retreat isn’t going to pay for itself. However, we wonder if HuffPost Hill sponsorship was included in Sachs’ settlement with the SEC when it was charged with misleading its clients into buying garbage assets that’d been handpicked by a well-known shortseller. Given the absurdity of Goldman’s statement at the time, maybe they can jibe with HuffPost Hill: “Goldman Sachs would never condone one of its employees misleading anyone, certainly not investors, counterparties or clients.”

Oh no! “Worried that lawmakers will allow taxes to rise for the wealthiest Americans beginning next year, financial firms are discussing whether to move up their bonus payouts from next year to this month…If Congress does not extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the highest income levels, a typical worker who earns a $1 million bonus would pay $40,000 to $50,000 more in taxes next year than this year, depending on base salary. Goldman Sachs is one of the companies discussing how to time bonus season, according to three people who have been briefed on the discussions.” WE’LL NEVER GET OUR CRUISE NOW [NYT]

Remember all that stuff we said about Goldman Sachs the last few months?? TOTALLY KIDDING!!!”