Er, no, those aren’t profound questions at all. Even if Arianna and Lerer did take an idea or two, it’s hard to see that the plaintiffs would have any claim to compensation—and indeed neither of them asked for compensation or even the opportunity to invest in Huffington Post for six years, before they suddenly decided that they had been so egregiously wronged that they had no choice but to sue.

But the fact is that Vanity Fair loves nothing more than a gossipy tale of celebrity entanglements and the name-dropping in this piece is truly something to behold: Larry David, David Geffen, Brian Grazer, Aaron Sorkin, Meg Ryan, Tom Freston. Graydon Carter simply isn’t capable of passing up a story which includes a sentence like this one:

On Election Day 2004, after attending a Bruce Springsteen concert for Kerry the night before, he, the Davids, and Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow and political activist, were visiting polling places in Ohio before boarding a private jet to fly to Boston.

The biggest celebrity of all in this piece, is Arianna herself, a blow-dried visionary in a glamorous large-format portrait by Robyn Twomey. The picture speaks much more loudly than the words: She’s clearly the winner, not the men wearing suits lent to them for the duration of the photoshoot by VF staffer Peter Holleran.

This story isn’t bad publicity for Arianna then—the vast majority of VF readers will look at her picture but not read the article. And most of the ones who do read the article will come to the obvious conclusion. My guess is that when Arianna next bumps into Graydon, it’ll be kisses all round, like nothing happened. Especially if he agrees to write something for her website.

Felix Salmon is an Audit contributor. He's also the finance blogger for Reuters; this post can also be found at