Friday, June 30, 2006

Take My Poll: You're In Control!

Lots of readers came to this blog from the Huffington Post when I was kicked out. I know I've spent some time to write about what happened, but now it is time to move on.

Move on in a big way or a small way.

I could, for instance, talk to a few investment bankers and journalists and ask if they're interested in a new venture competing with the Huffington Post.

But if I do, I better have a few people who think that's a good idea.

Or I could just keep on blogging. About drugs and other fun stuff.

Tell me what you think! You can only vote once per day, but you can select several options.

And, no one can tell who you are or your IP address or anything. So break the mold! Most people don't vote, but you contribute to the fun if you do. Come on! Just this one time!

Select all the options you agree with!
I like your blog. Just keep doing what you're doing.
I want more. Start the Rost Post and compete with Huff Post!
Get back on topic: Tell me more about drugs and healthcare.
Stay off topic. Have fun. Write about drugs sometimes.
Just go away!
Free polls from

Drivers on phones "as bad as drunks"

I live in a suburban area with lots of towering SUVs and the women who drive them are always on the phone.

Literally always. In a way I'm impressed, I mean, isn't it impressive to have so many people to talk to? But now the truth is out.

A new Univeristy of Utah study indicates that people who talk on mobile phones while driving are as impaired as drunk drivers.

Overall, three drivers out of 40 test persons crashed into the car in front. All were talking on mobile phones. None were drunk.

The researchers pointed out that while none of the drunk drivers crashed, their hard, late braking is 'predictive of increased accident rates over the long run'.

Read the full results here.

The Spoof: "Pfizer Sues Rush Limbaugh Over Viagra Use"

According to The Spoof, Pfizer has sued Limbaugh over his Viagra use.

Limbaugh was detained by customs officials when he returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic with some blue pills in his bags.

Spoof claims Limbaug said, “I was concerned about the next election, not my next erection,” and this became a source of embarrassment to Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra.

The Spoof also claims to have received this information from a Pfizer spokesperson, “We make this stuff for guys who are suffering some performance issues at home, not for sexual athlete wanna-be’s. If Rush has to leave the country to get some romance, tell him to use Cialis. We know this guy is a ticking time bomb and don’t want him blowing up on our pill.”

Meanwhile, Florida officials recently announced that the state has now become the largest consumer state of the “blue bullet.”

One official pointed out, according to Spoof, “It’s kind of funny to see the Q-Tips (slender and bald men trimmed with white hair) walking down the beach when the pill kicks in.

Their bathing suits flare out and they look like those string kites we used to make as kids.”

Pharma Wins Over Religious Groups

A government advisory committee has recommended that all 11- and 12-year-old girls get a new vaccine to prevent the sexually transmitted virus that leads to most cases of cervical cancer. The vaccine can be given to girls as young as 9.

Many religious groups, including the influential Family Research Council, have opposed this vaccine, since they believe it will lead to more sex.

After all, if the girls have sex and later get cancer, perhaps fewer girls will have sex.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Homeland Security Cyber Chief

The Bush administration apparently has a cybersecurity chief who is a contract employee and earns $577,602 over two years.

By comparison, the Homeland Security secretary, Michael Chertoff, makes just $175,000 annually.

So now we finally have the explanation for the many visits from the Department of Homeland Security to this blog.

I haven't kept track lately, and graph is from a few weeks ago.

It was the cybersecurity chief.

I wish other readers got that kind of money to read my blog!

Full story here.

The Readers of This Blog Will Rock Ya!

After the digging, the detective work, and the passion I've seen among the readers of this blog during the past week I only have one comment. Here it is.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Regulators and researchers corrupted by Big Pharma"

Evelyn Pringle is an investigative journalist who digs deeper. If you care about healthcare you cannot miss out on her insightful comments. Here's the most recent one.

Regulators and researchers corrupted by Big Pharma
By Evelyn Pringle
Jun 28, 2006, 00:44

Over the past six years, 10 Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs have been withdrawn from the market due to deaths and injuries, leading lawmakers to accuse the FDA of not doing its job in protecting the public from unsafe drugs and to call for measures of improvement.

Read full story here.

The Full Picture

Some of my readers have worked hard, putting together the full picture in my Huffington Post saga.

They have also mentioned this in the replies to this blog, so I thought I'd assist by posting the data more prominently

This is what "Reaniel" created:

You may need to use your browser page tool and zoom up to 400%, or simply download and view to scroll the entire timeline.

You may also want to compare this with the data in Mike Brereton's blog.

The HuffPuff Troll

Bloggers continue to do some very interesting detective work on the Huffington Post Troll.

For web definition of troll see this.

Personally I note that this Troll, who complained that one of my posts "reads like a 6th grader's first attempt at a research paper," is consistenly unable to spell "hilarious."

He thinks it is spelled hillarious.

Read all about the Troll's other posts on Mike Brereton's blog.

Wonder if the Troll finished 6th grade?

How to Make Millions, Losing 45% of Shareholder Money

I started my life in the blogging world three months ago, writing about The New Robber Barons.

In this story I happened to mention a certain CEO for a very large drug company who made a lot of money, but who had, well, not returned the favor to shareholders. They lost about 45% of their money during his reign.

The CEO did better. His retirement package consists of a lump sum payment of $83 million and he also earned nearly $16 million in 2005.

And of course this is embarassing, so this big company CEO has been fighting back every time he meets those angry shareholders and in the press.

This is what he says, "In my business, pharmaceuticals, the medicines we build this year will not make it to market for 12 to 15 years. So what is performance? Is it current share price? I don't think so. It's long-term value."

It sounds a little bit like Bush when he declared that our highest priority was to capture Osama bin Laden, and a couple of years later, when we had failed, it wasn't a priority anymore.

So for this big company CEO share price isn't really that important. It is long-term value. Which we will find out about 12 to 15 years after he retires. But we should pay him for this now.

In his defense, I note that he increased revenue by nearly 10 percent annually, boosted net profit, cash flow and earnings per share by more than or nearly 20 percent a year.

Problem, according to this CEO is not his performance, which was great, problem is that the share price for his company was hyped when he took over. The company traded at a valuation of 45 times earnings. So he said "It's not worth 45 today and it shouldn't have been 45 in 2000 as a result the share price has declined by 40 percent."

He makes a good point. Too bad he didn't tell his shareholders back in 2001, when he took over as CEO, that they had been bamboozled to pay double what the company was worth. After all, he was second in command before becoming CEO and part of the senior management that hyped company stock.

How to Make Billions and Cause 27,000 Heart Attacks

One of my favorite blogs is PharmaGossip. Today this site republished a story written for Salon, about Merck and the Vioxx scandal.

This piece is so well written, almost like a thriller, and scary, so if you've had abstinence symptoms because I had less time to focus on pharma in the last week, due to the HuffPuff Troll scandal, here you can get your cravings satisfied.

You really, really, should go and read the entire story about How Merck stacked the Vioxx deck.

And by the way, if you haven't had enough of the HuffPuff Troll story, you can go to HuffPost's Yaco-Mink Exposed as Big Pharma Shill and find another enlighting account about what transpired.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Huffington Post In a Panicky Retreat

I didn't expect to continue to write about the Huffington Post Troll Scandal, but the fall-out continues.

First, after I had unmasked the HuffPo Troll they locked me out from the site, which in the Internet world means that you are fired.

Then, they did what I had recommended, and Jonah Peretti declared that "The staff will not post any critical comments in the future. --JP"

And now they have just deleted all "Readers' favorite comments" and removed the button to vote for a favorite comment.

Arianna stated "We've looked at the data logs and Yaco-Mink's comment got the most "best of" votes from different, verifiable IP addresses. There was no manipulation."

So of course there was no reason to disable this system, since it was fair and impervious to manipulation.

Not so. The fact that "Readers' favorite comments" have been deleted can mean only two things. HuffPuff learned the system was easy to game, which many readers also showed in their replies to this site. Or HuffPuff couldn't stand all the comments criticizing my termination being voted to the top. Or both.

No matter what is going on here, HuffPuff is in an uncoordinated, panicky, retreat mode; rarely seen in the blogging world.

The irony of all this is that HuffPuff partner Jonah Peretti is supposed to be an expert in "viral marketing" and he didn't stand a chance when bloggers and readers he had intended to "viral market" using spam e-mails turned on him like a tsunami.

In conclusion, the juveniles running HuffPuff have made several serious errors in judgment, errors a professional organization with more experienced managers would have been less likely to make.

These were my parting words to HuffPuff:

"Seriously, I have loved working with you, and I just have to tell you personally, since I have done marketing and crisis management for my entire live; HuffPo has made a critical, amateurish error in judgment. You really need to get professional advice."

Perhaps the PR and advertising professionals at the WPP Group and JWT will now help them clean up their mess.


I just did a radio show about the Huffington Post Troll Scandal.

You can listen to the show here. Or look for it here. And read what the show wrote about the HuffPuff Troll Scandal here.

Like many others, they asked if the HuffPuff Troll was the only reason for me to get fired.

And like many of my readers they pointed out the money connection between HuffPuff, JWT and the drug industry.

Always follow the money. Find out the motive and then you find the killer. Or the people who conspired to have you fired. That seems to be the general consensus.

So I decided to take a look.

First, it is no secret that I have a couple of lawsuits going with the world's biggest pharma company as the defendant.

Second, it is also no secret that this pharma company doesn't like the fact that I talk to the media and that I had access to the Huffington Post and my own blog.

They pointed out the fact that I was blogging on Huffington Post and on my own blog in a letter to the judge on May 30, 2006, and they didn't seem very happy about it.

So of course, it is natural to suspect that the drug industry might have done what they could to shut me down at HuffPuff.

But from that assumption to any real proof there's a long way.

And, of course it is most likely that HuffPo fired me simply because they went nuts when I disclosed that their technology manager acted as a troll on my blog.

But did the HuffPuff have something going on, to try to shut me down, because of their advertisers?

Was HuffPuff asking me to blog less frequently? Yes. Once, a month ago. And I did follow this instruction. Did they tell me not to do critical drug company posts? No.

Those who see a conspiracy point to the following:

Ten days ago I wrote a blog for the Huffington Post called "Am I Crazy Paranoid . . . ? "

In this blog I noted that the WPP group had become one of my readers. This group owns many PR and and advertising firms and it could have been any one of them looking at my blog. That doesn't mean anything in itself. But one of the companies the WPP group owns is JWT.

And we know the following about JWT: In 2003, JWT was one of the main beneficiaries of WPP's acquisition of smaller marketing group Cordiant, absorbing local offices of Cordiant's Bates Worldwide network in several markets, including the UK and France. JWT also took over control of the various Pfizer accounts handled by Bates, as well as staff working on them in the US, London, France and Peru.

So JWT is connected to the drug industry.

Ten days ago the New York Times wrote that "JWT Puts a 'Roadblock' on Huffington Post."

The article stated, "JWT, the oldest advertising agency in the United States, has purchased all the ad space on The Huffington Post home page for one week, starting tomorrow."

How much does HuffPo get paid, you may wonder? In the article "JWT buys out Huffington Post ad space," the Guardian tells us that HuffPo charges more than any other online journal. "A typical one-month ad on the Huffington Post homepage ranges from $120,000 to $145,000 but sources believe the one-week deal has cost JWT something in the low six-figure dollar range. "

The NY Times continued their article, "At The Huffington Post, the agency has found an experienced partner in Jonah Peretti, a founding partner of the Web site, who is overseeing the technical aspects of the JWT project.

Mr. Peretti's name has been tied to viral media since 2001, when he traded e-mail barbs with Nike after the shoemaker refused to let Mr. Peretti order a pair of customized Nike iD sneakers emblazoned with the word "sweatshop." Much to Nike's chagrin, the e-mail exchange quickly spread over the Internet, and is considered an early example of how viral media can work.

Now Mr. Peretti and The Huffington Post are hoping to make a handful of previously run commercials from JWT alluring enough that visitors will not only click and watch the spots, but will also e-mail them to others.

"People often ask me, 'how do you make something viral?' " Mr. Peretti said. "The truth is, you just make something good. That doesn't make something viral, but some of them will strike a nerve."

So here we have Mr. Peretti in bed with JWT. Peretti who should have known how viral marketing works and that firing a blogger for exposing a troll may not be a good idea. But he did it anyway.

JWT, like any advertising agency or client, obviously prefers to advertise in newsmedia that don't dish their clients. After all, why pay the media outlet that bites your hand? But JWT didn't run drug company ads on the Huffington Post.

At about the same time as the JWT created ads appear on HuffPo, Andy Yaco-Mink, who reports to Mr. Peretti, suddenly takes a regular interest in my blog and starts spewing invectives, calling me "insane," etc.

And some people have also found a connection between Jonah Peretti and HuffPuff apolgist and blogger James Love. If you do a google search on both names you will find them both on a not so pleasurable website.

Does all this mean that the drug industry conspired to use JWT to pressure HuffPo, and Peretti then used Yaco-Mink to post negative replies on my blog to dissuade me from blogging, and perhaps eventually get rid of me, the way some readers have suggested?

No it doesn't prove anything.

But it is certainly an interesting or perhaps, entertaining conspiracy theory.

There is one more thing; I remember very well Yaco-mink's comment to my post $10,000 Fine If I Talk. He replied, "If you just go ahead and don't reveal the confidential information, you can pretty much stop worrying about the fine."

This comment sounded as if it had been written by the lawyers I was figthing against. Now I know better. It was Yaco-Mink.

So of course, a lot of people seem to believe there is something going on here.

As for me, I don't belive anything. I like facts and we don't have them.


Question Authority! But not here.

And, I may add, also don't question authority or the HuffPo technology manager, on the Huffington Post web site.

You will get fired.

The Internet and Drug Advertising

Big Pharma spends a lot on Internet ads, a whopping $13.8 billion in the first quarter this year.

Is it worth is? After all, doctors write the prescriptions, so why advertise to regular people?

You bet it's worth it!

According to a study by MRx Health/Informed Medical Communications, doctors grant 87% of patient requests for specific drugs.

But it doesn't stop there. Many of those patients asking for a specific drug read about it on . . . the Internet.

Here are the numbers.

Percent of consumers who ask their doctors for specific drugs based on:

What they read on the Internet--34%
What family and friends say--33%
What they see on television--31%
What they read in the newspaper--3%

Did you notice that last number? 3%!

Now you know why the Internet and evening television is booming with drug commercials, showing happy, dancing people, and why regular newspapers are in trouble.

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Boring Blogger Fired From Huffington Post"

OK, I have found one more negative blog. About me and my firing from HuffPo:

Boring Blogger Fired From Huffington Post

So now we are up to two blogs supporting Arianna.

Kind of.

Because this last one was actually pretty funny.

The blog "Outside the Beltway" analyzed Arianna's comment to New York Times.

“It seemed like his blog was becoming about personal grudges,” Ms. Huffington said. “That would have been no problem if the posts were interesting.”

So this blog concludes, "Since the second sentence completely negates the first, she should simply have said, “We fired him because he was boring.”

So there we have it. I was boring. And, boy did I get boring real fast. I mean they were suddenly in such a rush to change my access code. It had nothing to do with the the Troll Scandal. Just boredom. According to Arianna Huffington.

Quite frankly I'm a bit surprised that the mighty HuffPo hasn't been able to co-opt more bloggers to take their side. I figured a media company like the Huffington Post with cool geeks like Jonah Peretti would have been able to kick up some more dust. But maybe the spirit didn't move them. Maybe they all felt so . . . what's the word?

Stupid. That's the word.

Here are a few other recent blog posts and their take on the HuffPo Scandal:

Disillusioned Once Again

All The Gossip That's Fit To Print

Huffington Post Astroturfs for dollars, trolls, and loses credibility, loses Rost


Free Andy Yaco-Mink.

The last one is the second blog post about this story, by James Love at HuffPo. I guess he wasn't happy with the replies to his first post.

If you haven't read about his background and association with HuffPo partner Jonah Peretti, check out reader comments to HuffPo Troll Scandal Grows BIGGER.

The readers on this site have started to dig and they're digging faster than I can keep up. So don't miss their comments . . .

Wikipedia Updates Huffington Post Entry to Include Recent Scandal

The Huffington Post
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Huffington Post (often shortened to HuffPost or HuffPo) is a political group weblog founded by Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer. Begun on May 9, 2005, it is notable because of its early success and prominence as a predominantly leftist news and commentary outlet, and its feature of Huffington's network of prominent friends from various fields and viewpoints. Its name is most likely a play on The Washington Post, the prominent US newspaper.


22 June 2006: The Guardian newspaper has reported on alleged suppression of Huffington Post blog writer Peter Rost after he found evidence of harassment by Post technology manager Andy Yaco-Mink [1]

The George Clooney HuffPo fake blog scandal is not mentioned. What gives?


Wikipedia link

HuffPo Troll Scandal Grows BIGGER

It turns out that I have not been the only one who has researched the IP address used by Andy "The Troll" Yaco-Mink at Huffington Post.

The blog MAXPOWER has just posted an amazing story about how this IP address and the people behind it (supposedly HuffPo staffers) have abused the internet.

After having demonstrated how this IP is associated with anoymous e-mails and supported his belief that the Huffington Post was “astroturfing” (the use of paid shills to create the impression of a popular movement [source][wikipedia]), he concludes:

"Coincidences come in clusters: the pattern is clear, staff at THP have attempted to manipulate bloggers and the public by appearing as independent voices online. They have anonymously posted comments and sent emails to promote their product in an attempt to orchestrate a viral contagious marketing initiative.

On their own site, THP, they censor critical comments refusing to publish them — contrary to their clients wishes (if you believe the adweek quote). I have no proof, but comments on THP blog within the JWT advertising section also appear to be written by marketers posing as you or me in an attempt to get us to endorse their product.

There is a credibility problem at The Huffington Post. Who are they trying to fool — the public, or the advertisers willing to pay six figures a week for fake superlative feedback?"

The full and very amazing story here.

You can also read more here about how HuffPo has teamed up with JWT to create viral marketing and hoodwink intenet users.

BrandWeek: "In a tribute to limousine liberalism's commitment to free speech, HuffPo promptly fired Rost"

Huffington Fires Ex-Pfizer Blogger

By Jim Edwards
June 26, 2006

Peter Rost, the former vp-marketing fired by Pfizer last year, just seems to attract trouble. Last week he was "fired" by The Huffington Post, where he was a blogger on drug policy and politics.

Here's how it happened.

Rost had become suspicious about one reader who posted negative comments in the response area under his blog on Arianna

Huffington's left-leaning chatfest. The reader, "yacomink," added comments such as, "this thing reads like a 6th grader's first attempt at a research paper."

Within half an hour of that post, Rost says, yacomink's comment became a "reader's favorite comment" in HuffPo's rankings.

"That was rocket speed I'd never before seen at the Huffington Post," Rost wrote on his blog. So he traced yacomink's e-mail address and plugged the name into a search engine.

Rost found that someone named Yako-Mink had a photo blog on Flickr, which included pictures of a bespectacled man wielding a meat cleaver giving the camera the finger.

Further, it emerged that HuffPo's technology manager is named Andy Yako-Mink and lives in Brooklyn. "Huffington Post's technology manager is out to get me!!!" Rost wrote.

In a tribute to limousine liberalism's commitment to free speech, HuffPo promptly fired Rost, Rost claims.

That move was unwise. Brandweek readers know that Rost is a master when it comes to alleging corporate malfeasance and no shrinking violet when it comes to the media.

Rost has already embroiled Pfizer in a federal probe—and the media spotlight—over whether the company illegally sold human growth hormone to anti-aging doctors, and whether he was wrongly fired for complaining about the sales.

Rost published his own press release about HuffPo on PR Newswire, and the blogosphere—sensing Huffington's blood in the water—went into a feeding frenzy.

HuffPo did not return an e-mail requesting comment. Huffington, in fact, was in Cannes, France, last week at the ad festival. She later blogged, "We disabled his password for one reason and one reason only—his refusal to act as part of our online community."

The Queen of Political Porn* is Butt Naked

With the New York Times writing about the Huffington Post Troll scandal, Arianna is, of course, wriggling like a little worm on a hook.

Suddenly she reverses position and claims writing about "personal grudges" would have been "no problem if the posts were interesting." Of course with all the other HuffPo bloggers writing personal stories and her readers beating her up in their responses, she could take no other position.

There is only one problem with the "new" explanation.

My blog postings were ranked #1 in readership or among top 5 on a weekly basis, and captured almost 10% of HuffPo's readership. That's out of about 700 blogs on Huffington Post . . .

Huffington Post is falling in a similar trap Pfizer fell in when they fired me. At Pfizer I had the #1 performance vs. sales forecast, so I generated my numbers in hard cold cash. At Huffington Post I generated the numbers in hard, cold readership numbers.

But none of that matters to any corrupt organization.

Arianna Huffington has put the proverbial foot in her mouth and proved that the Queen of Political Porn* is butt naked.

*Arianna's recent blog postings:
Anal Sex, Iraq, Brand Loyalty and Other Topics from the Cannes Advertising Festival
The Cocktail That Saved Karl Rove's Ass
The Times Blows It on Billary; Bill Blows Up Over Hillary

"Readers' favorite comments"

I'm going to wrap up the Huffington Post Troll controversy.

Check out "Readers' favorite comments" over at HuffPo, to four posts HuffPo allowed to be published about my firing. I believe the comments speak for themselves, even though it has been widely reported that HuffPo censored many replies that didn't support HuffPo.

Setting the Record Straight: On Trolls, Moles, and Dis-Invited Bloggers (105 comments )
Arianna Huffington (co-founder and editor of the

Peter Rost's Accusations (73 comments )
Jonah Peretti (partner and director of technology for the Huffington Post)

Nuts About The Huffington Post! (69 comments )
Greg Gutfeld (blogger and . . . . uuhhhhh)

The Freedom to Blog on the Huffington Post (55 comments )
Free Andy Yaco-Mink (11 comments )
James Love (blogger and director of the Consumer Project on Technology)


The New York Times: "A Blogger Is Bounced From the Huffington Post"

A Blogger Is Bounced From the Huffington Post
The New York Times

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 ( "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, 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

"The Huffington Post: Final Diagnosis--Officially Insane"

I've found a new favorite blog: Et Cetera.

And the way this blog uses images is hilarious.

Such as the image for this post:

The Huffington Post: Final Diagnosis--Officially Insane

Read it and laugh!

But there are other fun ones, as well, like the last blog still supporting Huffington Post, a self proclaimed "gas guzzlin', beer chuggin', one woman lovin', son of a bitch conservative"

You can find his last blog about the Huffington Troll Scandal here: The lonely only

In this post the "one woman lovin', son of a bitch conservative" writes that, "I guess that I am, somehow, some way, a lonely only in support of Arianna Huffington in the HuffPo's great Peter Rost affair. "

Yep, he's right about that. That's a sad state of affairs for Huffington Post. But perhaps it isn't very surprising.

You see, when Jonah Peretti, one of Huffington Post's co-founders, writes that Andy "the Troll" Yaco-Mink (who is his friend and subordinate) "is a smart, young, thoughtful technologist who manages to balance his progressive ideals with a snarky cynicism," then you know something is wrong.

After all, this young, thoughtful man started his troll attack against my Huffington Post blog postings sharing the following wisdom on my blog Build the Wall!:

"You know what was great? The Berlin wall."
By: yacomink on May 25, 2006 at 12:23pm

Is that a comment which "balances progressive ideals with a snarky cynicism"?

Case closed.

The people running the Huff Post really are Wacko-Yaco.

Comment Policy

I do not censor comments based on political or ideological point of view or if they differ from my personal opinion.

Because of increased volume of readers and some recent off-topic comments, I will, however, delete comments that are abusive, off-topic or decreases the enjoyment of this site for other readers.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Little Blog Just Exploded

Over the last month I had 103,008 page loads and 88,043 unique visitors to my Huffington Post blog.

And since HuffPo has about a million unique visitors, this was almost 10% of their traffic.

So of course I was concerned that I would lose many of those readers when I was fired because I revealed the Huffington Post Troll.

But perhaps things will work out.

These are my visitor stats as of Friday for this blog. The last few days' traffic is actually equivalent to the number of visitors I had on Huffington Post.


And, to all of you who made this happen; mentioning my blog, linking to this blog, e-mailing your friends about this blog.


Paranoid? Paranoid!

This quiet Sunday morning I'm finally getting a chance to read the replies HuffPo DIDN'T censor, to Arianna's and Jonah's posts on Huffington Post about me.

One of the common themes among HuffPo loyals is that because I wrote a few posts about unusual readers reading my blog, I am somehow "paranoid."

Of course both the Huffington Troll in his replies that started all of this, and his friends responding to the recent posts, miss the entire point, which was that it IS interesting when unusual visitors, such as the CIA or the Department of Homeland Security or the Rendon Group take an interest in your blog, even though a blog can be read by anyone. I explained some of this in my recent entry Deception in the Blogosphere:

"Many bloggers have noted my comments about unusual readers of this blog and in particular my three recent posts:Now I'm REALLY freaking out! How a Public Relations Firm Helped Start the War Am I Crazy Paranoid . . . ? I'm not sure, however, how many readers realize that the expression "tongue-in-cheek" applies to much of what I write, even though the underlying facts may be very true."

But some readers also weren't happy with that explanation. One of them replied, "I will be honest with you; at various moments yesterday, I was truly afraid for your safety and wondered if you were safe." He continued, "Now that I know that, although the facts were real, you were having a joke on us, I feel duped by your tactics. To feign a paranoia for reasons of having your tongue in your cheek cheapens everything you write, substantive or otherwise. "

I responded, "You apparently assigned a higher probability to the possibility that I would disappear, in your mind, than I did in my mind. You may be right (there's a day tomorrow, too), but I hope, for my sake, that you're wrong. I believe it is inappropriate for you to be upset that I was less worried about my own fate than you were."

I try to present funny--and sometimes serious --facts, in an entertaining manner. If you haven't read my legal disclaimer yet, now may be a good time to do so! It is designed to make you smile.


Kremlin and the Censors at Huffington Post

I couldn't help but think of Huffington Post when I read an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday called "How U.S. Citizens Mysteriously March For Kremlin Causes."

In the article we learned that the Kremlin propaganda machine pays U.S. citizens to demonstrate in favor of issues they support, then they film the demonstrations and show them to Russian citizens.

And of course the similarity with the Huffington Post is that Arianna Huffington tries to create the same warped reality for her readers.

When the responses to her blog post "Setting the Record Straight: On Trolls, Moles, and Dis-Invited Bloggers" didn't fit her distorted picture of herself and Huffington Post, her censors (they call them editors at HuffPo) went to work.

To read a real time description of how this played out, read the replies to my post Arianna Huffington is a Lying Liar. Here's the Proof.

Censorship IS unamerican, Arianna.

My Home Blogging Privileges Have Been Extended to an Emergency Session

Because there is so much going on and it is all happening so fast, my wife has granted me limited blogging privileges in spite of the fact that this is Sunday.

This special emergency status may not be repeated during coming weekends, which I am supposed to spend with my family and not my computer.

Based on reader discussion there are a few things I should clarify.

It is correct that bloggers at Huffington Post do not get paid and that Arianna gets paid a lot. This is, I have to admit, pure genius.

It is also correct that both HuffPo and bloggers can not only delete replies they don't like, but they can also edit (!) them. HuffPo is very slow in "approving" new replies, so when this goes fast it is usually the blogger who approves them.

Some bloggers only approves positive replies, others approve all of them. As one reader on HuffPo pointed out I was one of the latter ones. I figured what made the blogging format so unique and fun was different opinions, even nasty ones. Let's face it. Your replies are often more fun to read than the blog . . . Many bloggers have not understood that or have too fragile an ego to allow negative comments.

Conflict always sells and is interesting to read, but since HuffPo continues to delete replies to their blogs about the HuffPo Troll Scandal, they are in trouble. This is what one reader wrote in a private e-mail: "The blog-o-sphere, or whatever you prefer to call it, is eccentric in that it demands honesty to command an audience. HuffPo is not being honest right now and that will deter a portion of their readership."

I will continue my policy of not censoring any comments on this blog. HuffPo censors you--come here and tell us about it. Soon others will follow.

But the fact that HuffPo is censoring is not surprising. One thing I was told during my "firing" from HuffPo was that "It is not necessarily in HuffPo's best interest to have investigative blogs about HuffPo."

That's when I realized it was over for me and HuffPo.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

HuffPo Apologizes! Kind of.

Jonah Peretti, who is a partner and director of technology for the Huffington Post, apologized for the recent HuffPo scandal.

Almost apologized, I should perhaps say. Or kind of apologizes a bit.

And his writing isn't too bad either. And he's not lying, like Arianna, even if he is partly wrong.

This is what he says, among other things:

"I contacted Andy to express concern the moment I heard he was commenting on Rost's posts. Critical comments are fine for a reader of HuffPost but the tech staff's primary responsibility is to support our contributors and critical comments send the wrong message. Before I could even express these thoughts to Andy, he offered a heartfelt apology. He realized that he was acting like a reader when he posted the comments, but as a HuffPost staffer he should have shown more restraint expressing his personal opinions in the comments."

He claims that "Andy did not manipulate the comments and the fact that Rost is demanding an investigation or a denial is offensive. "

That's what he is wrong about. Enough readers on this blog have recently showed how easy it is to manipulate the HuffPo voting system, they've done it with everyone watching on this site.

The fact that using a Firefox browser gives you a carte blanche to manipulate ratings on HuffPo IS offensive. And the people who designed such a faulty voting system SHOULD be fired.

Because it is now clear that anyone could have manipulated Yaco-Mink's reply. No reply gets voted "Readers' favorite comment" in half an hour, unless voting is rigged.

You can read Parretti's mea culpa here.

One more thing, Jonah is complaining that I used a press release and e-mails to inform people of my new blog.

Jonah; I know you read my blog, so let me just tell you that I wouldn't have had to do that if you had allowed me to say good bye to my readers. But you didn't. You thought you were HuffPo and had total media power, respect and control.

After all, my blog posts don't appear on Google News and Yahoo News the way yours do. I'm just a guy trying to protect my name after being attacked by HuffPo. Not the other way around. Next time think before you censor your next whistleblower.

You topped it all off by deleting negative responses to Arianna's lying blog about me, as if you had been schooled by the political propaganda machines you so often criticize.

Greg Gutfeld on HuffPo Comes to My Defense!!!

OK, I wasn't going to blog more today, but what the heck, this is important.

Here's what HuffPo blogger Gutfeld says: "You invited Peter Rost to blog, let an employee mock him, then ragged on Rost for defending himself! You banned and mocked him for blogging about personal issues, and then after demeaning him, you invite him back to the party!"

Here's what a reply says: "You know what's funny? Dr. Rost's claim to fame is that he was one of rare whistleblowers in Pharma. So you can argue that his area of expertise is also whistleblowing. So by whistleblowing on the troll inside HuffPo, he was really staying within the realm of his expertise. I mean didn't the HuffPo hire Dr. Rost because he was a whistleblower to begin with? No other Pharma execs have been invited to blog here."

Nuts About The Huffington Post! (68 comments )

Here at the Huffpo, all sense of normalcy has been thrown out the window. This place is nuts. Not just funny nuts but wacky nuts - what people in medical circles call "open robe" nuts.

(Meaning: nuts enough to walk around with your robe open. Also called "Normal Mailer Nuts").

It wasn't always like this on the left.

In the Clinton era of "people politics", there was this theory that if you put up reasonable sounding individuals like Lanny Davis and Leon Pannetta, you could sway voters. Even Lanny's name sounded approachable. And "Pannetta?" Well, that brings to mind a mini-pizza you might order as an appetizer. At a dimly lit bistro.

(With someone you just met!)

But now that era is gone.

I would call it a "bygone" era.

The left has gone nuts. Take the Huff Post, which recently blasts a man because the contents of his blog don't fit within his area of expertise. He is a pharmaceutical consultant, so he shouldn't be blogging about anything but drugs. Fine. I don't blog unless I am on drugs.

Continue reading here.

Redacted Phone Number and E-mail

I have taken several readers' advice and redacted phone number and e-mail to my Huffington Post contact person. Please note that I also posted my own phone and e-mail, so I was fair in that respect. What's more, if anyone goes to Arianna's lying blog about me, you will find that she linked to a post with my private number.

My key reason for posting all info, though, especially the phone number, was to disprove the lies Arianna Huffington was telling in "Setting the Record Straight: On Trolls, Moles, and Dis-Invited Bloggers."

There was no other way to do this than to show my phone record. And I didn't feel very bad about doing that. After all, the only person who knew what had happened between me and Romi Lassally was Romi, and somehow a very distorted picture got to Arianna.

Sorry Romi and Arianna, but if you had stuck to the truth I wouldn't have been forced to publish our e-mail correspondence or my phone record.

Perhaps something to think about before you try to screw someone else?

By the way, I am going to try to stay away from the computer over the weekend, otherwise my wife may permanently revoke my home blogging priviliges, but I have a ton more explosive stuff coming on Monday!


Friday, June 23, 2006

"The Huffington Post Implodes"

Below are links to major political and healthcare blogs, including Daily Kos, Healthcare Blog and PharmaGossip, writing about the Huffington Post implosion.

I was only able to find one blog which supported Arianna Huffington. That blog described itself this way: "Jiblog is the intellectual repository of a Midwestern, gas guzzlin', beer chuggin', one woman lovin', son of a bitch conservative."

Here's the "son of a bitch conservative blog": Dr. Paranoia

And here are the others:

The Huffington Post Implodes

Dr. Rost, Wakko-Yako and a Huffy Post

Peter Rost fired again?

Shenanigans at Huffington Post

"Whistleblower" - the movie: Clooney to play Rost

Huffy at the Huffington Post

Huffing-and-puffing Post

File this under completely bizarre

Can't We all just Get Along...

HuffPost Scandal Reveals Poor Command of Language

Huffington Post Blogger Victim of Fraud

Is it satire, or is it the Huffington Post? [Peter Rost booted off HuffPost]

Huffington Post blogger blocked

HuffPost blogger discovers his critic is HuffPost ‘s tech chief


Stephen Brook has written a second article for the UK Guardian about the Huffington Post Troll controversy. The Guardian is the equivalent to the New York Times in the UK.

By Stephen Brook / GUARDIAN

Love it, loathe it or ignore it (as I do), in the blogging world the Huffington Post is hot. Which is what makes the current "troll and mole" controversy, that engulfed the site and led to the Post banning its own blogger Peter Rost, such a doozy.

For those who came late, the Post has banned Peter Rost for, in the words of the site co-founder Arianna Huffington "his refusal to act as part of our online community".

Sounds a bit Stasi, doesn't it?

Dr Rost got the boot after he exposed the identity of a persistent hostile poster to his blogs, known in the industry as a "troll", as in fact being the Post's own technology manager.

He also accused the troll, Andy Yaco-Mink, of manipulated the Post's voting system to get his hostile posts voted into the readers' favourites section.

Cue widespread panic at the Post. It took down Dr Rost's blog, then put back it up, then took away Dr Rost's password allowing him to blog.

Arianna herself has now been moved to blog on the snafu, apologising for the removal of Rost's blog, denying there was any manipulation of the readers' favourite vote and digging herself deeper into the mire by attempting to explain why the site had deregistered the good doctor.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Arianna Huffington is a Lying Liar. Here's the Proof.

Arianna has written a blog explaining why I was fired from the Huffington Post. I will now take that blog and respond, paragraph by paragraph. And I will not make allegations without proof, the way Arianna operates; instead I will prove beyond any reasonable doubt what really happened when Huffington Post shut down a whistleblower.

So here we go. I’ve posted her blog below, and inserted my comments in italics or documents in italics.

Setting the Record Straight: On Trolls, Moles, and Dis-Invited Bloggers

Dear HuffPost Readers, Commenters, and Bloggers,

Here's the bottom line on the issues raised by Peter Rost: We disabled his password for one reason and one reason only -- his refusal to act as part of our online community.

This is the first lie. I have never refused any suggestions from the Huffington Post, ever, which is also confirmed by what Arianna says below.

A little background: Peter Rost was initially invited to post about issues related to the pharmaceutical industry, his area of expertise -- but his posts increasingly became about his personal grudges and beefs or long, self-referential, diary-like entries about finding an injured bird in his front yard (complete with photos) or a blog post about his friend having an extramarital affair.

This is completely incorrect. I was asked to blog on Huffington Post, and told by Romi Lassally that I could blog as much as I wanted, whenever I felt like it about whatever I wanted. Arianna does not have one shred of evidence that I would only blog about the drug industry. And there was never any issue about bringing up my personal experiences, which she now calls “personal grudges.” In fact the situation was the opposite of what Arianna describes. Before starting I had to submit my fist blog, which clearly contains “personal grudges” since I use my firing and unemployment to write about unemployment, low wages, and high CEO pay. This is not a pharma blog. Here it is, “The New Robber Barons” Oh, I guess Arianna forgoooooooooot about that . . .

We suggested that this type of material might be better suited for a personal, individual blog -- a suggestion that Dr. Rost followed, creating this site.

No you did not suggest “this type of material might be better suited for a personal blog.” That was never even a discussion when Romi Lassally contacted me and she was later shocked that I had started a personal blog.

She simply e-mailed me and asked me to blog a bit less frequently, since you have so many bloggers. I asked if there was anything I could or should change and I, not Huffington Post, specifically sent a list of more personal blogs, such as the bird and the “cheating friend,” to get her advice.

She suggested the bird might be too personal, and never even mentioned “the cheating friend.” I actually had to pull ANY comment out of her. She did not criticize a single other blog post. And as a result of this, and to let readers know I started a personal blog, I wrote the blog, “I'm in Trouble With the Huffington Post

How do you know I’m telling the truth? Just click on the link and read that blog posting. I wrote it right after my conversation, one month ago and certainly didn’t know I had to use it to defend myself against Arianna’s lies. Here’s one paragraph from the post:

“I had to really push for detailed info, and finally the editor admitted that a few of my posts were, well, a bit too personal. And she told me that the blog about the "baby bird" we found might have been such a story, even though "it was read by many." And quite frankly I think this editor is right."

However, his penchant for airing personal grudges on HuffPost continued, becoming problematic when he devoted another long post to a personal attack on one of the commenters to his posts (one who happened to work for the Huffington Post), claiming that there was a vendetta against him, and that this employee was somehow gaming the system to give his comments greater prominence -- something that did not happen. (By the way, the employee, Andy Yaco-Mink, HuffPost's technology manager, wasn't an "anonymous heckler" as Rost claims -- he signed his comments "yacomink.")

I have never used the term vendetta, in fact I wrote in my post, "A Troll* inside Huffington Post?" the following, "But it wasn't what he wrote that interested me as much as what happened with what he wrote."

And I didn't know 100% that "yacomink" was Andy Yaco-Mink, until Arianna just admitted this. In fact, I ended my post, "There is also a possibility that there is an evil twin out there, and if so this could explain all this."

After the contact about the baby bird, there was not a single contact or complaint from the Huffington Post. Not one word that I wrote about "personal grudges," which may not be surprising, when you look at the list below.

What Arianna is doing here is typical for corporations who make an unethical decision; they try to blame it on something else. If there was any concern, why no e-mails or calls for a full month? Because I followed our agreement! From May 18 to June 16, I wrote the following blogs:

Bausch & Lomb Damage Control about problems with contact lenses.
Super Secret Secrets about internal fight for power at Pfizer.
$10,000 Fine If I Talk about how Pfizer tried to silence me.
Build the Wall! about illegal immigration.
God's Men: Guilty, Guilty, Guilty! about the Enron verdicts.
The FDA is Finished about corruption in the FDA.
Don't Trust Your Television News about corruption in television.
Pfizer Celebrity Lawyer Runs To Court to Shut Me Up about Pfizer going to court to really shut me up.
Take My Poll! Asking what readers want to read about on my blog. Here was the result:

Brides Gone Wild about daring bride photos.
Companies Snooping on E-mail about how companis snoop on employees.
My Blog in the News about a newsarticle on my blog.
How to Predict the Future about how to use demographic shifts to predict future.
Viagra for Children about Viagra used in children.
Ann Coulter is Laughing Her Head Off about Ann Coulter’s comments.
My Cheating Friend - 3 about my cheating friend.
Am I Crazy Paranoid . . . ? about the Rendon Group.
How a Public Relations Firm Helped Start the War about the Rendon Group.
Now I'm REALLY freaking out! about unusual visitors to my blog.
Are Many Companies Criminal Enterprises? about recent employee surveys on company ethics.

I think the list speaks for itself and many of the posts made the top five reader list. This is not a list with "personal grudges."

Here's how our comment ranking system works: There is a "best of" and "abusive" button next to each comment on the site. Anyone who comes to the site can vote. Each unique IP address can vote only once for a comment. You can vote for as many different comments as you like, but only once for each comment. After a comment has received a few "best of" votes, it goes into "readers' favorite comments" for the post. And this is what happened with Dr. Rost. We've looked at the data logs and Yaco-Mink's comment got the most "best of" votes from different, verifiable IP addresses. There was no manipulation.

The one error made on our side was when a junior editor, working the early shift, saw the post revealing personal information about one of our commenters/employees and took it down without consulting with anyone. He shouldn't have done that -- and as soon as our senior editors realized what had happened, they putmi the post back up.

OK, great you did look at the data. But you forgot that we are talking about your technology manager. Do you have any idea how easy it is to switch IP addresses in seconds for a professional using Dynamic Host Control Protocol? What this means is that the ISP has thousands of available IPs to hand out. All he has to do to fool the system is to disconnect from his ISP, then reconnect and he gets a different "verifiable IP address." And there is also software that does this for you. I guess your technology manger forgot to tell you about that. So of course you have found "verifiable IP addresses." You are in over your head Arianna!

I wrote in the blog that got me fired, “In order for the Huffington Post to maintain its credibility, the site needs to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest or rigged rankings. I don't know if the Huffington Post technology manager fiddled with the vote for his reply. After all, there is a 1.4% chance he won the ranking fair and square. But normally that would have taken at least a number of hours, on a day with lots of web traffic. But half an hour with low traffic?”

So I raised a question, not an accusation. And you did a “mistake” you say taking the blog off and when you realized that, you put it back.

Allow me to smile. The blog first went up about 9:36 am EST. It was censored within fifteen minutes. The first reply is stamped 1:25 EST, so it took about three hours to “discover” the mistake. Let me show you below what went on during those four hours.

We then contacted Dr. Rost, explained what had happened, apologized, and expressed to him that as we moved forward we hoped to avoid having these self-referential personal grudge posts on the site. He responded by doing the exact opposite of what we had asked -- posting a follow up to his earlier post that included more personal attacks. At this point, it was clear that Peter Rost had ceased acting as a member of our online community, where mistakes can be acknowledged and corrected, and was instead acting in an adversarial manner. We had course corrected when we discovered the mistake made by our junior editor; he chose not to course correct on the kinds of blog posts he was posting.

The statments in this paragraph are complete and utter lies. And here’s what really happened and I’ll simply copy the back and forth between me and Romi Lassally at Huffington Post:

----Original Message Follows----
From: "Peter Rost"
Subject: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 10:03:09 -0400

I think you may have a serious internal problem, which needs to be investigated. The credibility of the Huffington Post is at stake.

This was confirmed when my blog, which simply described the facts, rapidly disappeared from Huffington Post. Please note that I only described facts, no ad hominem issues.

Please see blog on my private site and comments from readers:

----Original Message Follows----
Subject: Re: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 10:34:23 EDT

Will look into. Thanks.

----Original Message Follows----
From: "Peter Rost"
Subject: Re: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 11:08:08 -0400

Appreciate that. Seriously, what makes the Huffingon Post so great are all the replies and conflicting opinions. Conflict sells newspapers and also drives readership for the Huffington Post.

So if I were you I'd see both the blog I wrote, as well as what happened to it (censored by someone) as a business opportunity, for you to do an article about the whole thing. If your tech guy took it off the air this is serious. If an editor did it it's a different story, but still questionable, since I simply stuck to the facts.

By covering this on your news page, people will realize the Huffington Post has distance to itself. And since the blogosphere is what it is and since you guys are almost the Microsoft of the blogs, if you DON'T pick up on this others will. You want to be the ones in charge of this news story.

It's a win-win. Huffington Post will get more visibility, do the right thing, whatever that is, and life goes on. I wrote this for entertainment, but also so I wouldn't have someone mess with my blog in the future . . . now suddenly things got more interesting.

----Original Message Follows----
Subject: Re: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 12:14:11 EDT

Can you call me in abt 10 minutes? Or send me you number. I'm away from my

I was away for lunch and didn’t return until 1 pm, by that time my blog was back up again, and I published the blog Hurrah! I'm Back On HuffPo! 1:14 pm. Check the date stamp in my HuffPo archive!

I had not been in contact with Romi.

In my blog I supported HuffPo and wrote, “I don't know what made this happen, but I think HuffPo just made a brave move. After all, what makes this site so great is that it is open to all kinds of opinions, in a way most newsmedia would never dare to operate.” I also added replies to my private blog of upset readers, but I did not use any bad languague. I was supportive of HuffPo!

Then, according to my phone log, Romi called me at 9:01 GMT, (Greenwhich Mean Time) which is 5:01 EST. This was the first time I spoke to Romi directly on that day. The only call before that is from a different number on that day. Can I prove this? Sure. Compare Romi's phone number in e-mail above with my phone log:

When she called she simply said we should take a “break” with my blogging, which I agreed to, since I figured they had to investigate the situation.

Next follows the e-mail I sent to Romi in the evening, when I discovered they had locked me out.

----Original Message Follows----
From: "Peter Rost"
Subject: Re: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 20:53:14 -0400

Dear Romi:

You told me to take a break, which of course I respect. But then I checked in on my site to approve comments. I was locked out. Couldn't get into any of them and simply watched as someone else deleted comments I could never read.

When someone is locked out of a business it is not called a break . . . it is called to be fired, which is a very long break. But perhaps HuffPo doesn't want it to look that way. And I was fired without any investigation, simply for telling the truth, just six hours after my offending blog. Not even a big drug company would handle something like this that way.

You could have asked me not to blog, then investigated the situation and then made a decision. But you didn't. You decided there was no problem without any investigation and then shut down the whistleblower. And you told me you didn't even read my blog!

I do hope you realize how this will make HuffPo look; you've built your business on exposing misdeeds, but you immediately fired a guy who supports you when he questioned if your ranking system could be abused and made available images and factual information a HuffPo employee had posted on the net.

Based on my lock-out, clearly I will write about this, and our phone call. There is simply no reason not to cover this.


----Original Message Follows----
Subject: Re: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 21:14:38 EDT

Oh Peter.....I write this at the risk of knowing you could print it verbatim,
but I sincerely hope you will not. I think we both have enjoyed and
benefited from the last three months of your blogging on Huffington Post. I hope
you know that all my efforts on your behalf have been genuine and that I don't casually take on writers to help with their work. I have been an advocate of yours - both online and off- and am offended that you feel I have mistreated you.

Please know that I am an employee of Huffington Post. As you know from our
dealings, I am not well versed on technical issues and am not in charge of how
posts are arranged on the site or how passwords are given/changed.

Please don't shoot the messenger here -Despite the fact that I was away from
my computer this morning, I brought you into the Huffington Post and
therefore I was the one who had to make the call to you today. I apologize for not
being more direct with you on the phone - a break was perhaps too gentle a
word, but frankly it was the only one I could find during our conversation.
You have not been "fired" but rather asked to refrain from posting as our
editorial staff felt that your recent blogs were not in line with the mission of our
site. And honestly, you seemed quite unhappy with us in your last posting -
so a parting of the ways seems like the right thing to do for now.

Again, I ask that you not print this out of respect for our professional
relationship. Please email or call if you'd like to discuss this further.


----Original Message Follows----
From: "Peter Rost"
Subject: Re: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 22:51:54 -0400

Romi, oh, Romi . . . :

What a sad ending. Yes, I think I have helped HuffPo a lot, the monthly stats showed that I had almost 10% of the readership. And after all this is what counts, since you live off advertisers. What is so sad is that this is a similiar situation to Pfizer. I had the number one performance in the entire company, measured by sales vs. forecast, but that didn't matter once I spoke out about illegal business practices, just like my readership numbers didn't matter when I did one blog which questioned something inside HuffPo.

Because clearly, if it hadn't been for the blog today, this would not have happened, we both know that. No one has complained about my recent "blogs." On the contrary, they have really supported what you do, just take a look. And instead your organization protects what may be a bad internal situation. You don't even investigate before taking action against me.

You say that you were just the messenger, so I think it would be fair if you told me who made this decision. Since you are a small company, I would assume based on what you wrote, that Arianna Huffington made the call. Am I wrong? There aren't really any other people between you and her . . .

All the best,

----Original Message Follows----
Subject: Re: URGENT
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 23:04:58 EDT

We are small, but there are several people who work alongside me this
was not an Arianna call. Ultimately, the decision was an editorial one - not
one person to be held responsible -- really. So no name calling out there if
you must air all of this.


And with this I have just proved that Arianna Huffingon is LYING. At NO time did I refuse anything HuffPo asked me to do. I did not continue to blog after I was told not to do so. There are date stamps on everything, my blog, e-mails and phone log verifying this.

As I have just conclusively proven, using e-mails from Huffington Post, none of what Arianna described in her blog took place. I never spoke to anyone from HuffPo before doing my final, cordial blog in which I spoke well of HuffPo.

At that point, we felt we had no choice but to withdraw his password. A decision we don't take lightly. Indeed, it's something we've never done before in the 13-plus months since we launched the Huffington Post.


When someone of Arianna Huffington's stature publicly accuses you the way she accused me in her blog, the truth is the best disinfectant. I have just proven to the world that Arianna Huffington is an opportunistic, lying liar.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end here. It gets worse.

This is what two Huffington Post readers just wrote about Arianna’s blog on my blog:

Anonymous said...
Holy shit. I just saw the comments on Arianna's response go from 49 to 43. They still haven't posted my 3 comments. And they're deleting ones they already posted. This is bad. I think Arianna is really shooting herself in the foot on this one. It doesn't look good that she's in Cannes at an advertising awards show hobnobbing with people who give her more than a mil a year for ad space.

Rev. Joker Cross, KSC said...
This is idiocy.Thrice have I attempted to comment on Arianna's article, and thrice have I been rebuked. I have noticed that supportive comments that were there earlier are now gone.So I posted this at my blog.

My Firing From HuffPo Front Page News in UK

One of the largest and most respected newspapers in the UK has made the news about my termination from HuffPo their lead story on their front page. See

This is the article, which is almost correct; the mistake is that my blog is back on HuffPo, but I'm not back blogging and I am still locked out.


Stephen Brook, press correspondent
Thursday June 22, 2006

Influential website the Huffington Post tried to ban one of its bloggers after he discovered an anonymous heckler on his blog was actually the Post's technology manager.

In his Huffington Post blog, Peter Rost exposed the identity of the heckler - known as a "troll" in blogging parlance - which prompted the Post to temporarily block his access.

He recounted the incident on a new blog site he created separately to the one co-founded by journalist Arianna Huffington.

"This is a sad day for online journalism," Dr Rost wrote on his new site. "I was terminated without any investigation of the statements in my blog post, all of which were referenced using independent sources.

Continue reading here.

How to Cloak Your Identity.

I read about comments on my blog in which readers have been blocked from posting on Huffington Post. And you can't just switch identity, since HuffPo and many other sites track your IP address and block any comments from an IP address they have deemed "unworthy."

So what can you do? Easiest is to do what I've been forced to do during this time when my internet is down--go to Starbucks or Panera or some other place with public internet access and use their wireless network. They all have different IP addresses and you may not be blocked.

If you want to permanently cloak yourself, you can also use software such as anonymizer, at least if you are not on a network, and you can select whatever IP or identity you want to have.

HuffPo can't stop that. This tip came courtesy of one very liberal HuffPo reader who was blocked and is happily back replying on HuffPo every day. She has asked to remain anonymous.

She also told me the following happened after she switched "identity:"

My new moniker "/CUT/" has made "Best of" a bunch of times - I don't know - maybe a dozen. Sometimes it happens pretty quickly. But I've noticed that *only* comments that are made very soon after an article is posted EVER get included in "Best of". In other words you might've made the wittiest comment in the world but if you don't do it soon after the article appears it will *never* make it into the "Best of", which is a shame because there are many great comments posted later on in the life of a particularly controversial or long-lasting topic."

One of many ironies over at HuffPo, I guess, but very much supports my suspicions in my blog, "A Troll* inside Huffington Post?"

Comments: Puff n’stuff: Peter Rost is off the Huffington blog, at least for now

From Pharma Manufacturing

Puff n’stuff: Peter Rost is off the Huffington blog, at least for now

Filed under: Miscellany — pharmamanufacturing @ 12:44 p.06.

Be forewarned: This is hardly vital news, and will probably only interest any journalists and mediaphiles who find it, but…

Haven't always been that nice about Peter Rost on this blog. There is much to respect about some of the things he's done—in particular, his past whistleblowing and his opening up debate about drug importation. A year ago, I'd considered him a real "hero." But too much has happened since then that has simply been "perplexing."

But I'd still enjoyed checking on his new career as a blogger (despite some awkward posts and some often angry and illiterate reader comments, or alleged reader comments) on Huffington post.

Continue reading here.

The CIA is Interested in Trolls!

For those of you who have been following my blog over the last few weeks, you know that I have taken up a new hobby. I collect unusual blog visitors.

Some people collect stamps, others coins, and some men collect women.

I collect unusual blog visitors.

So it is with great pride and joy that I annouce that I have captured the most unique visitor of them all: The Central Intelligence Agency.

They have visited me once and only once. It happened yesterday. And guess which blog post they were interested in? You got it, the one on HuffPo that got me fired: A Troll* inside Huffington Post?

And here's the proof.

I Really Tried to Reason with HuffPo. Really.

I received a long letter from HuffPo late Tuesday evening confirming my termination, which ended with, "Again, I ask that you not print this out of respect for our professional relationship."

The next morning I decided the whole situation was ridiculous and could also hurt HuffPo, so I wrote the following:

"I've had a chance to sleep on this and what you told me. The situation is unacceptable and I would like you to reconsider your decision. Please contact me asap. I also urge you to discuss this letter with Arianna."

"I spent three months working almost full-time on writing over 60 attention grabbing blogs and received about 10% of Huffington Post's readership. I have the data. This generated significant advertising revenue for Huffington Post."

"Because I wrote an investigative article about an anonymous heckler who had been stalking my blog (who had actually challenged me to write about him), and who turned out to be the Huffington Post’s own technology manager, I was terminated. Since you deleted this blog post, then locked me out from posting, you can't really claim anything else. The Huffington Post didn't even give me a chance to inform my readers on which blog they could find me in the future. "

"Seriously, I have loved working with you, and I just have to tell you personally, since I have done marketing and crisis management for my entire live; HuffPo has made a critical, amateurish error in judgment. You really need to get professional advice."

After receiving a noncommittal response, I wrote again: "OK, I have been through too many similar situations in the past. Lesson is that companies don't change their mind and they will always try to claim the whistleblower was the one who did something wrong. HuffPo certainly has the resources to do that, so I can't be a sitting duck. Talk to Arianna, let me know in next hour what the deal is!"

And I was told, "Peter....please don't give me time limits - I'm doing my best here! I've been up since 5:30am! Don't lump us in with other companies."

Within an hour, however, I got a call back and was told that Arianna was in Cannes and couldn't be reached and there was nothing that could be done.

One of my concerns was that Huffington Post wouldn't even allow me to leave a final post, telling my HuffPo readers where they could find my new blog. So my only choice became to send out a press release. You can find it here.

But I guess I must have offended the technology gods in the universe by writing about one of them. Shortly after my press release went out, my email account was blocked, and then my internet and phone service stopped working.

Today I got the explanation when Hotmail wrote the following to me:

"Thank you for writing to MSN Hotmail Technical Support.

This is Erickson and you mentioned that your account has been locked because you sent a lot of e-mail messages. I know how important it is to regain access to your account. Please let me assist you.

We have checked your and were able to find out the cause of the problem. Your account has been closed because it is possible that an unauthorized person may have accessed your account and sent messages to your contacts."

At least my hotmail account is up and working again. On Saturday a technician will come and try to find out why my internet connection doesn't work. I hope he doesn't know that the technology gods have put a spell on me since I wrote that blog . . .