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W&W Morning Run: React to AOL-Huffington Post Deal


The bombshell news that AOL will acquire the Huffington Post — for a whopping $315 million — already has been greeted with a few snipes. “A bet the farm move,” one investment banker tells Variety.

Nick Denton of Gawker Media tells the Daily Beast (a HuffPost competitor): “AOL has gathered so many of our rivals— Huffington Post, Engadget, Techcrunch—in one place. The question: Is this a fearsome Internet conglomerate or simply a roach motel for once lively websites?”

There also is concern that Huffington Post, which has been a beacon for progressives, and certainly Hollywood activists, since its  launch in 2005, will shift to the center under the corporate control of AOL. In other words, the consolidation of Internet voices has begun.

I’m actually skepitcal of the latter scenario, as AOL has had much less success in launching its own politics site, the nonpartisan Politics Daily, than Huffington has in developing the Huffington Post. There’s some expectation that Politics Daily will be folded into Huffington Post, with Huffington maintaining editorial control.

The most marked change for Huffington Post, judging by what has been said by Huffington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, appears to be in the form of non-political content: local news, lifestyle features, tech blogs and online video. Huffington promises that the editorial approach will remain the same — but with a lot of other content. If anything, this will give Huffington a much larger playing field.

Harman to Resign Seat: Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) will resign her seat to run a Washington think tank, creating a rare opening in Los Angeles’ congressional delegation. Already the word is that Los Angeles councilwoman Janice Hahn is eyeing the seat.

Big Announcement: Keith Olbermann will announce “the next chapter in his remarkable career” on Tuesday, according to a release that went out this afternoon.

The Gipper Revisited: Karen Ocamb of LGBT POV isn’t gushing over Ronald Reagan on the centennial of his birth. She writes, “For LGBT people, Ronald Reagan’s presidency was the far different “mourning in America.” And unlike Nixon who was forced to resign for covering up the political Watergate scandal, Reagan didn’t even bother covering up his cold disdain, his deliberate neglect, his abject refusal to help gay men stricken in 1981 by a strange new communicable disease that turned out to be AIDS. But there was no “AIDSgate” for Reagan; the White House agreed with the Religious Right that gays deserved what they got – they deserved to die.”

Tonight: Kathy Najimy, Stephen Root and John Michael Higgins are among the performers in “Standing on Ceremony,” a series of one act plays about gay marriage, at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles. The event is presented by Joan Stein and Stuart Ross.

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