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Leave it to seasoned mogul Barry Diller to have the smartest take on the cashiering of TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington: AOL "destroyed" TechCrunch's voice, the IAC chairman said, and editorial director Arianna Huffington should have been told to "shut up and go back to your room" when she raised concerns about Arrington's ethics.
Diller, of course, is not unbiased; his cash bleeding Daily Beast competes with Arianna's profitable Huffington Post. But no other mogul can boast a career that so fully bridges an old media reign of running Paramount and scrapping for Rupert Murdoch at Fox to earning very respectable new media cachet with IAC's online commerce hubs, web apps and internet publications. And in a Q&A at the Paley Center for Media's International Council, Diller pinpoints exactly what was wrong with ejecting Arrington on trumped up ethics charges:
You buy a company... because it is absolutely the voice of a single person, primarily... And you know that that voice is biased and mean, and capable of saying anything, and is capable of playing 100 different games — and you know that, and that's why you buy it, because it's a good voice... aAd then somebody calls you up and says, "I'm the editor in chief, and you can't do that, because he's in a conflict of interest." And instead of saying "shut up and go back to your room..." Now he's gone and and now they own this thing, which has no voice. Congratulations, what a good piece of business!