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Arianna's Generous Borrowing

Arianna Huffington recently gave a speech about the future of journalism, and in the speech she took some shots at Rupert Murdoch. According to Huffington, Murdoch loves to criticize news aggregators, while at the same time operating a number of news aggregators himself. Huffington claims that her site, The Huffington Post, has plenty of original new content, while Murdoch owns a number of sites that purely aggregate and steal. Here is Huffington:

1. The Wall Street Journal has a tech section that's nothing more than a parasite -- uh, I mean, aggregator -- of outside content.

2. has a Politics Buzztracker that bloodsucks -- uh, I mean aggregates and links to -- stories from a variety of different sources, including the NY Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and others.

3. AllThingsD has a section called Voices that not only aggregates headlines, but also takes a nice chunk of text -- and puts the links out at the bottom of the story.

4. And Murdoch's News Corp. also owns IGN, which has a variety of web properties, including the Rotten Tomatoes movie review aggregation site -- which is entirely made up of movie reviews pulled together from other places. Did someone say "stealing"?

Interesting. Now turn your attention here (in a post from the website TechDirt):

1. Looks like the WSJ is "parasiting" and "stealing" according to Murdoch. Perhaps he should cut them of too.

2. Okay, how about Fox News itself? Yup. It's got an aggregator as well. Here's its Politics Buzztracker that aggregates and links to stories from a variety of different publications, including the NY Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and others:

3. Then we've got the folks over at AllThingsD, who I actually think do excellent work, and who have built up a nice part of their site called "Voices." I actually quite like this and find it useful (and yes, every so often, they are kind enough to "parasite" one of my posts). In fact, it helps keep AllThingsD in my RSS reader because it's so useful. But, damn, if that doesn't look just like what Murdoch is complaining about. Not only does it have headlines, but also a fair bit of intro text (no summary, no commentary) and even the links are hidden at the bottom, rather than using the headlines as links:

4. Murdoch's News Corp. owns IGN, which has a variety of properties, including the ever popular RottenTomatoes movie review aggregation site. Yes, the entire site is based on "parasiting" (according to Murdoch) movie reviews off of every other site, and pulling them all together.

Huffington, in her speech, gave credit to Techdirt for going after Murdoch. But in a speech that is faulting Murdoch for using other people's content, Huffington used the same four examples (in the same order, and often with similar wording!) as another site. The future of journalism indeed.

[I have added the numbers prior to each graf to make it easier to compare them].