The Rumor Mill: AOL’s Politics Daily

When the news of AOL’s impending acquisition of The Huffington Post first broke, many wondered what it might mean for news sites within AOL, such as Politics Daily and Daily Finance. Rumors that they might close down were fueled by a graphic of the new corporate entity in which those logos were missing. Rumors to the contrary, though, were fueled by interviews like this one in which Arianna Huffington cites the presence of Politics Daily as proof that the “new” AOL under her editorial oversight won’t skew to the left. (Note that that particular interview was with The Daily Caller, so she’s probably keeping that audience in mind.)

And why is this important, after all? Because those two pages feature the most original reporting of all of AOL’s news sites, are—unlike HuffPo—politically neutral, and—unlike HuffPo—pay their freelance contributors. So while it would be interesting to see those two models and types of content coexist on the new AOL homepage, it’s more likely that they’d clash.

Tommy Christopher, writing on Mediaite, mused about the implications of the demise of Politics Daily, a site that “was pitched, internally, as sort of an antidote to the Huffington Post.” He writes:

In a perfect world, AOL’s political coverage would take the best that each site has to offer, and the two would co-exist, and complement, each other. But the media horizon has historically gravitated toward the lowest common denominator. Only time will tell where that leaves Politics Daily.

We still haven’t heard any news about this from AOL or The Huffington Post, whose merger is still in the works. But on Tuesday, Gawker had a post with this tidbit:

A source at AOL tells us that Daily Finance and Politics Daily, which were two of the company’s most prominent blogs just a month ago, are both going to be folded into Huffington Post. Which was something that both places worried about as soon as the HuffPo acquisition was announced. We’re not sure what’s becoming of all the staffers, but if you know more details, email me.

No name, no quotes, no details. But the tip was still enough to inspire some phone calls to AOL and The Huffington Post. The response, however, was emphatic.

“The deal hasn’t been closed yet, so no decisions have been made on anything,” said AOL’s P.R. guy, Graham James. “Honestly, there’s no decisions that have been made—
there’s just a lot of rumors floating around.” And he says there’s no set timeline for the deal to be finalized, either. (The Huffington Post did not yet respond to requests for comment.)

When I told James that I had seen the rumor on Gawker, he groaned sarcastically. “There’s just rumors and rumors and rumors; you can’t base something on like, a bullet point on Gawker.”

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner