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Arianna Huffington Called "Quintessential Opportunist" By BitterGate Blogger

Arianna Huffington 
The Huffington Post's controversial policy of refusing to pay bloggers has created its first high profile critic: Mayhill Fowler. In a blistering blog post, Fowler calls Huffington Post Founder Arianna Huffington the quintessential opportunist for, from Fowler's perspective, using her and generating web traffic, ad revenue, and publicity from Mayhill's work.

If you don't remember her name, Mayhill Fowler's the person behind the Obama "BitterGate" scandal. During the 2008 Presidential Primary Campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama appeared at a fund-raiser at the Pacific Heights district of San Francisco on a bright, sunny, April 6th Sunday day.

Mayhill was there and took a tape recorder that was hidden from view of the campaign staff. If they saw it, staffers would have certainly kicker her out of the mansion as she not only wasn't supposed to record Obama, she wasn't even supposed to be in the building as she was banned from the campaign.  Yes, before BitterGate.

BitterGate's Mayhill Fowler 
Fowler recorded Obama making this now-famous statement:

So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Her recording led to this blog post in the April 11th, 2008 Huffington Post, and a giant firestorm of negative publicity that was a nightmare for Obama For America.

Harder still for the campaign to take, as this blogger has explained before, Fowler wasn't even supposed to be in the room when Barack made that statement. Mayhill had already crafted a reputation for quoting people without notes, only to have someone complain they were misquoted in one of her blog posts where she was overly critical of everything the Obama campaign did.

Mayhill tried to present herself as an Obams supporter, and some have quoted her and her husband's campaign contributions level as "maxing out" at $2,300 for the primary as proof. But this blogger knew better as Fowler was consistently aiming to report negative news about Obama for America and positive news about then-Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign.  

How did I know this?  Because I was the first Huff Post blogger assigned by staff to work with Mayhill as we both lived in Oakland, California at the time.  I took note of her anti-Obama blogs entries and backed away from working with her as I was and still am pro-Obama.

But Mayhill hit her targtet. Her BitterGate story has been referenced over 9,000 times online and many times on television. And for a time, it threatened to derail the Obama For President effort.

Eventually, Barack Obama overcame BitterGate, and everything else, to become president.

Mayhill Fowler Becomes Famous But Remains Unpaid

Regardless of what Mayhill claims in her blog post, she was highly sought after for appearances on radio and on panels.  This, over the time where The Huffington Post was taking major shit for Fowler's actions.  What she did was the supposed to be the stuff of Fox News, not the liberal Huff Post.

Many who experienced Mayhill's anti-Obama work weren't happy with that episode.

Still, Fowler continued to blog and take trips to political events, all paid out of her own pocket.  In her blog post complaining about the stories she pitched and The Huffington Post's refusal to monetarily support her desire to do them, Mayhill still doesn't get that many people still hold a grudge against her for BitterGate.  A lot of those people have relationships with Arianna Huffington.

So when Arianna told Mayhill the Huff Post didn't have a budget to fund her requests, even as they were paying Sam Stein, what she meant was she didn't have money for someone viewed as an enemy of the Obama campaign.

What Mayhill doesn't seems to have learned is that forming relationships and protecting them is a lot more important than issuing the blog post that's a campaign torpedo.  So, The Huffington Post figured they would just let her go and do her thing now that the campaign is over and Obama won.   The Huff Post wins because they're not paying her or encouraging her.  Thus, they're not liable for whatever she does.

Mayhill's Right: The Huff Post Model Sucks

For all of her faults, Mayhill's correct when she blogs that "The Huffington Post business model is to provide a platform for 6,000 opinionators to hold forth. Point of view is cheap." There are ways to cause bloggers to be paid. The Huffington Post, and some other newssites, are operating under the wrong business model. At Zennie62.com we cause bloggers to be paid and some have made as much as $60 per day for very little work.

But where Mayhill's wrong is in writing as if The Huffington Post was going to, at some point, pay her.

There was never a plan for that and a number of people didn't want it.

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