Arianna Huffington: April Fools’ Day Gag Rip-Off Artist?

Originally published at NewsReal’s That’s What She Said blog. Please follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our feed!

Runnin’ Scared notes that Arianna’s April Fools’ Day jab at the New York Times is awfully similar to a post that appeared at The Monkey Cage … on March 20. In a fairly lame attempt to razz the Times for its new paywall, she announced:

Today marks a significant transition for The Huffington Post Media Group, as we introduce digital subscriptions for employees of The New York Times.

Yeah, yeah. In other news, she just flew in from the coast and BOY are her arms tired. Hardy har har. Here’s a snippet from the earlier post at The Monkey Cage:

Starting on March 28th (and immediately for any Canadian NY Times employees), we will begin charging employees of the NY Times $29.99/month to access the electronic version of The Monkey Cage.

The similarities don’t end there.

Not only did the blog Monkey Cage make the same joke two weeks ago — “Monkey Cage to Begin Charging NY Times Employees for Access,” as pointed out on Twitter — but even the bullet-pointed formatting of the joke is the same, complete with wild and crazy caveats. For instance:

From Monkey Cage: “Times employees who wish to leave comments on posts will be permitted to do so without charge, but only if the comments are essentially positive and invoke the words ‘insightful’ or ‘counter-intuitive.'”

From Arianna: “If you come in through Digg, you’ll be able to read for free all stories that refer to TV’s Erik Estrada.”

Now sure, it could be that the comedy stylings of Arianna Huffington were something she thought up on her own, perhaps during a late night coffee klatch with Van Jones and Nora Ephron. But this is hardly the first time The Huffington Post has been on the receiving end of content theft and idea theft allegations. And when she’s not stealing, she’s “aggregating,” or as Stephen Colbert recently explained, “HuffPo is famous for its extensive, comprehensive coverage of things other people produce and put on the Internet.” In his best Arianna accent, he asked:

Darling, I happened to cruise by your $300 million website and you know what I find? A whole lotta me, including clips from my show on your site’s dedicated Stephen Colbert page. You have achieved the impossible. You made me feel angry while looking at pictures of myself. Where’s my money, Arianna?

If even Stephen Colbert is mocking her reputation as a content thief with The Colbuffington Re-Post, is it beyond belief that she’d swipe her April Fools’ Day “joke”? Runnin’ Scared suggests she’s not a thief, it’s just that her ideas are “played out.” I’m not so sure.


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