The New York Times: "A Blogger Is Bounced From the Huffington Post"
A Blogger Is Bounced From the Huffington Post
The New York Times
By MARIA ASPAN
Published: June 26, 2006
The Huffington Post, the popular news and blogging Web site, again found itself the subject of commentary last week when one of its bloggers was fired after accusing a site staff member of posting negative comments on his blog entries.
In March, the site began carrying the blog of Dr. Peter Rost, a former Pfizer executive who filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the drug company. Dr. Rost recently noticed that some prominently placed negative comments on his blog entries had been written by a user named "yacomink." In a June 20 post, Dr. Rost revealed that the person making sarcastic comments was Andy Yaco-Mink, the Huffington Post's technology manager. Dr. Rost's entry included Mr. Yaco-Mink's Internet protocol address and photos.
On June 22, Arianna Huffington, the site's editor, announced that she was withdrawing Dr. Rost's password, effectively firing him. (Mr. Yaco-Mink kept his job because the site had not had a policy forbidding employees from posting, although that policy was instituted on Friday.)
In an interview, Ms. Huffington said that her editorial team had discussed blocking Dr. Rost from the site more than a month ago because of the frequently personal nature of his posts. The editors made the final decision after they said Dr. Rost did not listen to their concerns on the post about Mr. Yaco-Mink.
"It seemed like his blog was becoming about personal grudges," Ms. Huffington said. "That would have been no problem if the posts were interesting."
Dr. Rost responded on his personal blog (peterrost.blogspot.com). "I thought that if anyone could accept being challenged, it would be The Huffington Post," he said in an interview. "But the first time anyone even hints, the censors go into overdrive and this liberal bastion becomes something similar to the Kremlin."
The Huffington Post drew criticism in March for publishing a fabricated George Clooney blog. But for Jeff Jarvis, who runs the blog BuzzMachine.com, the Dr. Rost affair is a much less serious matter.
"The Clooney episode was different because her actions weren't transparent," Mr. Jarvis said. "Dr. Rost was within his rights to criticize The Huffington Post on The Huffington Post, but it's still Arianna's space." MARIA ASPAN