Huffington Post, New York Times Now Jousting Over Paywalls, Smurfs

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Along with his ongoing campaign against Fox News, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller is also in a tiff with Arianna Huffington this spring. Thus far, their sniping has been under their own bylines, and mainly been of the The-Huffington-Post-is-killing-journalism, The-Huffington-Post-is-not-killing-journalism variety.

But a tense new interview with Huffington conducted by Andrew Goldman for the paper's Sunday magazine suggests their boss's distaste for Huffington has carried over to the newsroom staff. Goldman's questions are in bold.

Three years ago was 2008. I looked at The Huffington Post a great deal during the election. It felt like the Internet version of Keith Olbermann’s show, and if that’s not lefty. . . .
Why don’t you be more specific? What were the messages that you considered lefty?

It’s as if you’re trying to tell me that Smurfs aren’t blue.
I’m just telling you that it is very clear that we have progressive views, but to call everything we’re doing lefty — it misses the whole point that American policy needs to be redefined beyond left and right. It’s a completely obsolete view of politics.

Still, I’m amazed you’re trying to tell me that The Huffington Post wasn’t started as a lefty blog?
I’m not trying to tell you anything. I’m telling you things. I’m not trying, O.K.?

The interview, scheduled to run in print Sunday, was posted online just after 11 this morning, about three hours after Huffington unveiled a special April Fools' Day subscription plan for New York Times employees. Under the new deal, Times employees would be able to "view the first 6 letters of each word at no charge...after 6 letters, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber." Wonder what that's a reference to?

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