Arianna Huffington, whose daytime job consists of running a website that routinely depends on information provided by leakers at other companies, has reportedly soured on the whole idea of leaking things to the press. Erik Wemple of the Washington Post reports on a meeting the Huffington Post founder had with her lieutenants earlier this month:
In an early May meeting with top Huffington Post managers, founder Arianna Huffington expressed an interest in finding the person who leaked a troubling email relating to the website’s coverage of Uber, according to three informed sources. Leaking internal documents is unacceptable and doesn’t comport with company values, Huffington argued. Also: Those who do such things must be malcontents who would be better off leaving their jobs.
The leaked email in question, as Wemple notes, was sent by features editor Gregory Beyer to other staffers and appeared to indicate that he had killed an article critical Uber on account of the Huffington Post’s then-ongoing advertising partnership with the car-sharing service.
Beyer later apologized for the first email, writing in part: “Obviously our partnerships never affect our coverage, and I was moving quickly in the moment and sent the wrong message as I read it in hindsight.” By all accounts, however, Huffington is less fearful of the perception that Uber is corrupting her site’s coverage than she is of the possibility of her company’s memoranda being laid out for public consumption. So she’s decided to go after whoever slipped the emails to Wemple in the first place: “The impression that Huffington imparted was that she was already pursuing the leaker and urged her colleagues to be mindful of problem employees, according to the sources.”
Funnily enough, a Huffington Post spokesperson* provided the following statement to Wemple when he asked about Arianna Huffington’s purported plumbing expedition:
This is absolutely false. We’re beyond disappointed to see The Washington Post being used by an anonymous, apparently disgruntled employee. We’d expect this sort of thing from Gawker, but not from The Washington Post.
We’re not sure what our name is doing there, but if we were guess why Huffington would compare us unfavorably with the Washington Post, we would start with:
* Correction: This post originally attributed Huffington Post spokesperson Lena Auerbuch’s statement to Arianna Huffington herself. We’ve corrected the language to indicate that it was Auerbuch, not Huffington, who told Wemple, “We’d expect this sort of thing from Gawker, but not from The Washington Post.” We regret the error.