Special Report

Arianna, AOL, and Al: ‘Punk Faggot’ Scandal Spreads

AOL, Huffington dumped Rush but act as radio content provider for controversial Sharpton.

By 3.20.12

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They're tighter than a tied turkey.

Did you know that?

Arianna Huffington.

AOL.

The Reverend Al Sharpton.

The first two partner with a third. Radio One, which owns NewsOne. NewsOne, being home base for the Reverend Al's radio show. Which in turn… ahhhh, patience.

Safe to say between the three -- AOL, Arianna, and Al -- there's enough hypocrisy to choke the entire field of horses in the next Kentucky Derby.

You saw all this foo-foo, right?

The haughty statement on Rush Limbaugh issued by AOL and published by its partner in the AOL Huffington Post Media Group? This statement: 

"At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," said Maureen Sullivan, an AOL spokeswoman who confirmed the decision. "We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh really?

AOL's "core values" were at stake. AOL must "act with integrity." AOL has determined that a poor choice of words by Rush Limbaugh, his apology notwithstanding, "are not in line with our values."

And so, with as much ostentatious banging of the media drums as they could muster, AOL "made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."

Core values? Integrity?

Seriously?

Then how does the AOL Huffington Post Media Group explain these three extremely interesting things?

First would be this…the video you saw here last week (and will never see on MSNBC or NBC) of MSNBC host Al Sharpton captured by television cameras shouting at an unseen audience member:

You ain't nothing, you a punk faggot. Now come on, do something!

Second, there are the audiotapes, which you have also heard, found here. The first tape of which has Sharpton running at full tilt in a racist diatribe about the black, then-Mayor of New York David Dinkins. Said Al:

David Dinkins.… You wanna be the only n….on television, the only n….in the newspaper, the only n…to talk.…Don't cover them, don't talk to them, cause you got the only n…problem. Cause you know if a black man stood up next to ya they would see you for the whore that you really are.

The other tapes surfaced yet another homophobic reference to "Greek homos." And, of course, there was more. And just as you will not see the video or audio tapes of MSNBC host Al Sharpton -- the man who hosted NBC anchorman Brian Williams as a speaker -- on either of Comcast's MSNBC or NBC, you will apparently never see or hear these any of this on Arianna Huffington's The Huffington Post.

What haven't you seen? What isn't being reported by the AOL Huffington Post Media Group -- presumably because the story reflects unfavorably on themselves?

That would be this.

The website of Al Sharpton's radio show, which you can find right here at NewsOne. Find it? After you skip the opening ad? The site where lo and behold… wait for it… Carbonite, another vanishing Rush sponsor, is listed as well?

You can't make this stuff up. These left-wingers are so into each other they make all those tales of hillbilly incest look like Steve Carell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Let's follow the dots. An outfit called Radio One, Inc. -- and I'm quoting directly from Radio One's site -- owns: 

Interactive One, LLC ("Interactive One "), an online platform serving the African-American community through social content, news, information, and entertainment, which operates a number of branded sites, including NewsOne …

And NewsOne?

It is NewsOne -- home to the man in that video shouting a homophobic slur and captured on audio spewing the "n word," calling the Mayor of New York a "n…" and a "whore" and raving on about "Greek homos" -- it is NewsOne that proudly boasts that two of its partners in sponsoring that man -- Al Sharpton -- are … yes… wait for it…

AOL and the Huffington Post.

As in the aforementioned AOL Huffington Post Media Group.

Scroll down at that Al Sharpton link and gaze for yourself.

There they are. Yes, right there… can you stand it?… on the same page with… Carbonite. (Refresh the screen if need be, it's there.) Carbonite, another sponsor that abruptly left Rush with much noise, not mentioning that it was founded by a MoveOn.org contributor (see here). Nor mentioning that… yes indeed… Carbonite too is an Al Sharpton sponsor. Giving a complete and total pass to their sponsoree, the Reverend Al "punk faggot… n-word… Greek homo" Sharpton.

How fitting.

The very same AOL that oh so self-righteously dumped Rush Limbaugh. The very same Huffington Post that joined with AOL to form the AOL Huffington Post Media Group. There they are. Listed on the home page of the Sharpton radio show as "Our Partners."

Which means, of course, that while it was necessary to AOL's "core values" and "integrity" to dump Rush, partnering with Radio One's NewsOne in airing Al "punk faggot" Sharpton on his radio show is just not a big deal at all -- for either AOL or Arianna Huffington. Quite obviously you can be caught in a flagrant, belligerent example of what many would say was televised homophobia, you can spew the "n-word" in a speech, and all AOL and Arianna apparently want to know is when the partners can get their cut from sharing content with the Reverend Al's sponsoring network. And oh by the way, doesn't this "partnership" give the AOL Huffington Post Media Group just that special progressive glow of "tolerance" -- to the radical left?

As long as Reverend Al is on board with the progressive statist agenda and the Obama White House… noooooooooooooooo problemo. Why, get Phil Griffin on the line and give the Rev his own MSNBC show!

This is the same principle… the very same principle… that is at work with the Obama White House and the Misogynist Million from Bill Maher. The President is sooooooooo concerned about his daughters. Doesn't want them to be attacked. But thanks for the million bucks, Bill. Amazing how much money you can earn calling Sarah Palin the "c" word, isn't it? Chuckle chuckle, wink wink, respect for women and all of that. 

How convenient. How telling. See how the game works?

There's still more. An interesting something else more.

Remember a while back when Rush Limbaugh was in the mix to become a part owner of the NFL's St. Louis Rams? As all Rush listeners know, Rush is a devoted football fan. And, having earned his money the old-fashioned way in the classic American up-by-his-bootstraps fashion, he was an obvious pick to be an NFL team owner.

But there was a rub.

Rather than recount what we already know -- that Rush lost out because of an outcry of disgracefully timid political correctness -- let's look at one very interesting person who claimed credit for blocking Rush. And the interesting place he went to claim that credit.

That person would be -- yes indeed -- Al Sharpton.

When it became clear that Rush's politically correct enemies had appallingly intimidated some in the NFL, Al Sharpton went public with a boastful claim of credit.

Where? What specific place did the Reverend Al go to make his boast? Yes, you guessed it. He went here to his radio show's now partner, Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post.

Let's take a look at some of what Al and Arianna were up to. Let's, as they say, go to the re-play.

Rush Limbaugh was not fit to have an ownership stake in an NFL team, brayed Reverend Al on Arianna's website The Huffington Post, because of Rush's "inflammatory commentary" over the years. Rush, you see, had made "controversial, divisive statements about African Americans and other minorities" that made him an untouchable. Rush used "offensive rhetoric" that "progressive individuals" simply could not tolerate. There was, said Al, a need to "curb harmful speech… from Rush Limbaugh."

Then there was Al's last sentence:

Rush Limbaugh and others be very very afraid.

Interesting, yes? An open threat published on the Huffington Post by Arianna's partner. An open threat to not only Rush but "others" -- which is to say, apparently, anyone who disagrees with Al Sharpton. Unless they shut up and go along with the progressives and their statist agenda, Rush and these unspecified "others" should be "very very afraid."

So.

The first thing to do, after discovering both Sharpton's threat, who published it -- and watching and listening to Sharpton's performances captured both on video and audio -- was to see what AOL and Arianna had to say about their radio partnership with Al "punk faggot" Sharpton.

Thus an e-mail to one Mario Ruiz, listed on the AOL site as the contact for the AOL Huffington Post Media Group was in order:

Hi Mario…

This is Jeff Lord from The American Spectator.

I read AOL's statement when announcing it was withdrawing as a sponsor from The Rush Limbaugh Show. This one, which was published here by The Huffington Post, AOL's partner in the AOL Huffington Post Media Group:

"At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," said Maureen Sullivan, an AOL spokeswoman who confirmed the decision. "We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."

 I am writing an article on this for The American Spectator that will appear tomorrow, Tuesday March 20th, and wanted to give you a chance to respond.

In your statement AOL noted that it was doing so because of AOL's "core values" and "integrity."

Since the publication of that statement, on AOL's partner The Huffington Post (among other places) I have learned a curious fact.

Both AOL and The Huffington Post are listed, individually, as "partners" by NewsOne, the company that is home to the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show. A visit to the web site of the Sharpton radio show, here, prominently lists both AOL and The Huffington Post as "Our Partners" in airing the Sharpton radio show.

This is interesting, because in this video here Rev. Sharpton, in a televised appearance, is seen yelling to an audience member:

"You ain't nothing, you a punk faggot. Now come on, do something!"

Additionally, The American Spectator has obtained audio tapes, linked here, of Reverend Sharpton. On one he says, in a reference to the black then-Mayor of New York David Dinkins -- and I have abbreviated the "n-word": 

"David Dinkins.… You wanna be the only n… on television, the only n….in the newspaper, the only n…to talk.… Don't cover them, don't talk to them, cause you got the only n… problem. Cause you know if a black man stood up next to ya they would see you for the whore that you really are."

On other tapes Rev. Sharpton refers to "Greek homos" and "Chinamen", Koreans and watermelons etc.

My questions for both AOL and Ms. Huffington , are these:

• If AOL withdrew its sponsorship with Rush Limbaugh because of AOL's "core values " and "integrity", are you considering withdrawing your partnership with NewsOne over issues of what certainly appear to be homophobia and racism as expressed -- and are caught on both video and audio tape -- by Reverend Sharpton?

  Are repeated expressions over time by Rev. Sharpton that would surely seem to appear as both homophobic and racist, part of AOL and The Huffington Post's "core values" and "integrity"?

On October 3, 2011 the AOL Huffington Post Media Group announced that it was launching four new sections, one of which is HuffPost Gay Voices. Is not being a "partner" with those sponsoring a man captured on video tape railing against a "punk faggot" and on audio tape ranting about "Greek homos" a considerable violation of your company's "integrity"? Will you be linking to the Sharpton "punk faggot" video or the Sharpton "Greek homo" audio on any stories that will appear in the HuffPost Gay Voices? You also have sections devoted to two racial minorities, HuffPost Black Voices and HuffPost Latino Voices. Will you be linking or reporting on Rev. Sharpton's use of the "n-word" in these publications? Had Rush Limbaugh said these things, would you not be demanding that he be removed from the air?

• Do AOL and The Huffington Post have different standards for Rush Limbaugh and Al Sharpton? If so, could you please explain why?

When Rush Limbaugh lost out in a bid to be a partner in the ownership of the NFL's St. Louis Rams, The Huffington Post ran a piece by Reverend Sharpton that accused Mr. Limbaugh of using "inflammatory commentary," making "controversial, divisive statements about African Americans and other minorities" and saying that there was a need to "curb harmful speech… from Rush Limbaugh."

Doesn't calling someone a "punk faggot" on national television and referring in a speech to "Greek homos" qualify as "inflammatory commentary" and "controversial, divisive statements" about a minority -- America's gay population? Doesn't repeatedly spewing the "n-word" about the first black Mayor of New York and calling him a "whore" -- all captured on audio -- qualify as making "controversial, divisive statements about African Americans"?

• With regard to Reverend Sharpton's call to "curb harmful speech," does your media company believe in restricting free speech? What would be those standards? Whose speech would you propose to curb? If you are withdrawing your sponsorship from Rush Limbaugh, why should those who are offended by your connection to promoting a man with a documented insensitivity to gays, a man who has been caught on tape using a word commonly identified as a racist slur -- why should those who sponsor the AOL HuffingtonPost Media Group not withdraw their own sponsorships to hold you to your own loudly expressed standards?

Perhaps I should add that I believe strongly in free speech and the First Amendment. I am not seeking to restrict Reverend Sharpton's free speech in any fashion, as he has sought to "curb" Rush Limbaugh's. Reverend Sharpton is -- and should be -- perfectly free to illustrate his real thinking and his principles in any way that he sees fit and most assuredly he has done so. So too should the AOL HuffingtonPost Media Group be free to partner with those sponsoring a man who has made such vividly disturbing public comments. No matter how homophobic or racist others may see the AOLHuffingtonPost Media Group as a result.

That is your company's choice and they have clearly made that choice.

But I am confused as to the "core values" and "integrity" of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group. In cutting off a sponsorship with Mr. Limbaugh, yet persisting in a "partnership" arrangement with NewsOne, which in turn provides a home to Reverend Sharpton, there appears to be a quite vivid double standard.

So to clear the air about AOL's views on connecting their brand name and that of The Huffington Post to homophobia and racism, and to be clear on the AOL/The Huffington Post's standards, "core values" and "integrity" I wanted to be sure to get in touch and ask for a response for an article that will appear in The American Spectator on Tuesday.

Thanks, Mario. I'm sure these are difficult questions for both AOL and Arianna Huffington. But under the circumstances of your company's quite public insistence on calling attention to its actions concerning Rush Limbaugh -- and in light of the quite public and recorded behavior of your "partner" Al Sharpton -- they needed to be asked.

My deadline is 4 pm. Monday, March 19th. 

Did I hear back?

I did. Mario Ruiz was good enough to respond with this as the official response from the Huffington Post: 

AOL's and The Huffington Post's content agreements are with NewsOne.com

In other words, apparently neither AOL nor the Huffington Post will be pulling their "content agreements" with NewsOne as a result of Sharpton's statements, as they did indeed pull their advertising from Rush Limbaugh.

Is this a double standard? What's OK to do to Rush is not OK to do to Al Sharpton?

As we said last week with the MSNBC/NBC story, borrowing from that famous Fox slogan, we report, you decide.

What's happening here? Why exactly is Rush Limbaugh still on the air?

The American people have long since begun to get the double game.

In point of fact, the double game being played here with Rush Limbaugh isn't at all new -- and Rush will continue to have a huge audience precisely because millions of Americans now get the double game.

The first game? The liberal media -- as exemplified by outlets like MSNBC, NBC, AOL and the Huffington Post, and they aren't alone -- simply refuse to report the facts. Or they are extremely selective in how they do it. Stories like Rush's will headline on AOL or the Huffington Post or MSNBC/NBC. Stories like Al Sharpton's simply won't see the light of day. Not to mention that Reverend Sharpton will get to post at the Huffington Post or host his own TV show at MSNBC or vent his spleen on his own NewsOne show without an eyebrow raised. Rush, on the other hand, must be de-sponsored and headlined to a fare-thee-well, while all manner of people try and take him off the air.

Which leads to the second of the double games. The Left is desperate -- desperate -- to find one way or another to curtail free speech. Reverend Sharpton boasted of it himself when he said on the Huffington Post that it was time to "curb" Rush's free speech. One by one the American Left through this, that or another group have claimed scalps from dissenters to progressive agendas in one fashion or another.

Which means?

Rush today.

Tomorrow?

Tomorrow it could be you.

And as millions of Rush's friends and fans have finally stood up to say -- the line stops with Rush Limbaugh.

The fight to save free speech is on.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.