Oh, wow, oh wow. Did you happen to catch The Colbert Report in which Stephen Colbert commented on AOL's recent buyout of The Huffington Post? He stated that he's launching TheColBuffington Re-Post, a site that is an exact replica of The Huffington Post except for the name and URL. Why?
Well, he said that HuffPo, lauded for its "extensive comprehensive coverage of things other people produced and put on the Internet," owes much of its web traffic to a page dedicated to ... him!
Hilariously, Colbert shared of this discovery:
You achieved the impossible. You made me feel angry while looking at pictures of myself ... Where's my money, Arianna?! Don't make me put on my RINGS! And until The Huffington Post pays me for repurposing my content, I am happy to announce my brand-new website, TheColBuffington Re-Post.
Content within content within content ... is your head spinning yet? It should be.
Colbert said he hopes AOL pays him $316 million for The ColBuffington Re-Post, which would be simply $1 million more than the company paid for Arianna Huffington's site. Now, he's asking his viewers to visit his site, because he "needs the traffic!"
I'll never stop loving how Colbert and his partner-in-comedy crime Jon Stewart use satire to make brilliant commentary on the day's news. Or, in this case, the day's news about the news. Even though The ColBuffington Re-Post is a sham, Colbert makes a totally valid point about HuffPo's "content appropriation practices."
On a consumer level, I appreciate HuffPo as one-stop shopping for left-leaning news and commentary. But as a journalist and student of journalism, I am a little worried about what the AOL-HuffPo merger means for the future of the quality of our news and information. I read an op-ed piece in the L.A. Times last week that claims the "company’s editors [will] evaluate all future stories on the basis of 'traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality, and turnaround time' ... All stories, it stressed, are to be evaluated according to their 'profitability consideration.'" In other words, as far as the AOL business model is concerned, the quality and journalistic integrity behind stories may come ... sixth and seventh?
I worry about this stuff, because I'm in the news biz, but I'm not sure how many consumers of Internet news are asking the same questions. For that reason, I applaud Colbert for broaching the topic with his viewers. Congrats to him on the launch of TheColbuffington Re-Post -- may it be the most satirical successful content aggregate site yet!
Image via ColbertNation.com