This past Friday, my article “Meet the New Soviets: Gingrich, Walker, Breitbart”, was yanked from the Huffington Post after being up for 8 hours.  (My article is still not up, but you can read it here.) The reasons it was pulled are troubling to me and should be a concern to anyone who wonders about the future editorial directions of Huffington Post.

As a bit of background, I’m a national security policy wonk from out West who has settled in DC.  I’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the Huffington Post–where I have blogged on national security and politics for 4 years.

My post came down during the recent fracas over blogger Andrew Breitbart being demoted from the front page because of his anti-social habits (mostly lying and name-calling). Breitbart–a right wing darling–is a friend of Arianna Huffington and played a leading role in Huffpost’s founding. To their credit, an editor did call me and let me know my piece had been yanked.  Yet for three days, people who linked to it saw my headshot with a note saying the article didn’t meet editorial standards.  Ouch.

Feeling wronged, I called on Sunday to clarify the policy and request that they put the post back up.  I spoke to one of the blog editors. Following the discussion I came away with serious concerns over who is driving editorial policy at the Huffington Post.

When I asked for specific reasons why my post had been removed, the editor seemed flustered. I sympathized with the chaos they must be experiencing given the site’s rapid evolution and purchase by AOL.  He told me that it was because I compared three public figures to Soviets–which he described as a totalitarian regime (like Nazis or Fascists).  What?!  My Soviet-era comparisons in the article were about destroying public trust and the propaganda required to sustain such destruction.  I wasn’t comparing any of the public figures to people who had committed Soviet atrocities, (read the article for yourself here.)   I stand by what I said because I saw this government-propaganda hybrid in action, having actually worked under that regime in 1989.

My first thought  about the reason for the article removal was based on the Millennial dominance in online industries. Maybe I needed to talk to someone older. The editor explained that he was senior enough, it was about my comparison and that this wasn’t blowback due to the demotion of Andrew Breitbart from the front page of Huffington Post last week.

However it looks like nobody told Andrew Breitbart that.  Here’s the tweet-sheet:

Breitbart’s tweet within two hours of my posting:

Find the inappropriate ad hominems about me, Newt Gingrich & Scott Walker in this fresh @HuffingtonPost piece: andrewbreitbart Highly Influential 3 days ago

And here’s what Breitbart’s loyal sidekick Lee Stranahan–who quit blogging for Huffpost over Breitbart’s demotion tweeted a short time later:

stranahan: HuffPost censors @loreleikelly Meet the New Soviets: Gingrich, Walker, Breitbart REMOVED ; is she banned from page 1?3 days ago retweet

And I’m not the only one who finds the timing odd. This tweet from Tim Karr of Free Press:

Did the Huffington Post pull this article ( because @AndrewBreitbart tweeted this ( ?8:40 AM Mar 25th via bitly

And then there’s this one from Breitbart himself that mentions AOL:

Did Arianna really create arbitrary AOL content rule kicking me off @huffingtonpost front for telling truth about ‘dumb twat’ @vanjones68? March 26

It’s not as if I’m the only one to use comparisons, a quick search of the Huffington Post site yielded 343,000 references to “Soviet”.

I don’t know if this is internal chaos, new editorial overlords at AOL or a quid pro quo to appease Breitbart. What ever the reason,  I hope that my experience will be seen as an opportunity to clarify editorial standards at the Huffington Post and to provide a qualitative benchmark about  subject matter expertise in our new media environment.  Readers deserve accuracy and writers deserve fair treatment. In so doing, we’d all benefit from a clear distinction between evidence based opinions about the direction of our own society and the human wrecking-ball tactics of Andrew Breitbart. An added benefit will be more rigorous debate about the misleading governing vision of Newt Gingrich and the anti-democratic leadership of Scott Walker.

If you no longer see my writing available on Huffington Post I think you will know which views have “won the day”. And if that is the case, other writers might also need to watch what they say, especially when it comes to talking about Andrew Breitbart and Soviet-style propaganda.

About the Author

Lorelei Kelly

User-friendly national security wonk. DC based. From out West. Lots of real-life education--like overseas, in think tanks and the US Congress. Formal education at Grinnell College, Stanford University and the Air Command and Staff College of the US Air Force.

22 Responses to What did Huffpost do with my Article?

  1. proudfoot says:

    You know you can’t write about Breitbart on Arianna’s site.

    • proudfoot says:

      adding….even when it is the truth about how vicious Breibart is. HuffPo silenced your voice and that’s not cool.

  2. joeyess says:

    Here’s a complimentary video just for you:

  3. John says:

    HuffPo has marginalized (or should I say prostituted) itself completely with its sale to AOL and the whole Breitbart debacle, et al.

    Technically it had become a bloated, quasi-we’ll-be-a-portal-for-everyone mess, which was reason alone for me to delete its bookmark and never go back (literally) when Ariana sold out to AOL.

    The whole Breitbart deal — and now this — shows that HuffPo (if not Ariana personally) has simply sold what little it had in the way of integrity to the highest bidder.

    Who that bidder is (or bidders are) I could care less, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that, once again, money talks and integrity walks.


  4. Jon says:

    Huffpo went MSM a long time ago. Which is to say, they became untrustworthy. I agree with commenter John – they have sold out. It doesn’t matter who ‘bought’ them. Unreliable is as unreliable does.

    Nobody really cares about Arianna. And soon AOL will do to Huffpo what they did to themselves. Good riddance.

  5. I didn’t think your piece should have been pulled — but I don’t see you calling out HuffPost on their hypocrisy and their arbitrary rule regarding Breitbart.

    It also seems like you just posted your piece without it be pre-read. I used to post my pieces the same way…then I told Huffpost I was working with Breitbart on the Pigford story. After that, all my pieces went into a moderation holding pattern and weren’t posted until approved.

    Soviet, indeed.

    • thanks for this. you’re right about the arbitrary nature of all of these actions. I’m hoping that Huffpost is inspired to be a real leader and lay out some clear standards for participation…we’ll see how this all falls out…

      • Kristy says:

        Hi Lorelei,

        I was linked to your site through Big Journalism. Although, our views differ completely, it was wrong that your blog was pulled. I see things completely different than you do in who or what is the problem with your blog being pulled. Your blog wasn’t pulled because of Andrew Breitbart. If you look at the big picture, you will see progressive groups actively seeking to shut down speech that doesn’t agree with the progressive agenda such as Color of Change and their boycotts and Media Matters and their goal of shutting down Fox News. You were just caught in the crosshairs of the fight.

        I’m a libertarian and truly believe in the freedom of words, speech, opinion. So when I stand for something, I gravitate towards those who have my same beliefs. The progressives don’t have my same beliefs. The progressives tell me they are all about free speech, but their actions tell me something else. If I don’t agree with something I read or see on TV, never in a million years would I ever think to try to get the writer or commentator fired or banned, but yet the progressives who “love” free speech, are doing exactly that. It wasn’t Breitbart who dictated what can be written, it was Color of Change, Media Matters, and other progressive groups. Breitbart’s views didn’t win the day, in fact he lost…it was the progressive left’s views that got you pulled, because if they truly believed in free speech, they would have read Breitbart’s article, loved it or hated it, commented on it, etc., and then moved on. Instead Color of Change went with the “silence the voice I don’t like” approach.

        So now Huffington Post has gotten themselves in a mess of hypocrisy by banning Breitbart from the front page for ad hominem attacks when progressives on the front page are also “guilty” of the same and thus you were just collateral damage.

        • Eric S says:

          I consider myself a progressive, and I happen to agree with this critique of the progressive establishment.

          Rather disappointing that Ms. Kelly didn’t choose to reply to this one.

  6. Lorelei was also kind enough to allow’s Causes Channels to run her piece. We are always very proud of her occasional posts which are smart, perceptive and original.

  7. TheLastBrainLeft says:

    Consider yourself collateral damage in the war between Color Of Change and the free exchange of ideas. Focus your venom at Van Jones, who precipitated this entire brouhaha because he could not deal with Breitbart being allowed to speak in public.

    Of course, you won’t do that. It’s always the right winger’s fault. Hippies emote, they don’t think.

    • thanks for your comment. but he wasn’t banned from the site…the campaign was against prioritizing his voice on the front page…he still has posting privileges….

  8. Pathman25 says:

    My guess is that since it didn’t have anything to do with a celebrity going to rehab or a nip-slip then it just wasn’t PuffHo material.

  9. The lack of any clear standard is the main reason I left — I can’t write like that.

    • litmus says:

      this comment makes much more sense when the words “like that” are excised from the end of the sentence.

  10. Nancy says:

    I found a link about your article….hilarious. Looks like Ms.Kelly got PWNED.

  11. CayVoo says:

    I stopped reading HuffPo over the nonpayment of graphic artists. I’m sick of the powerful (Arianna) making millions on the work of others.

  12. pieceofcake says:

    from: Merge Left
    ‘Every single unpaid writer should leave her asap – And I just don’t get it why they don’t?
    The other day there was this post on Dirty Hippies with the question: ‘Did American workers get what they deserved’? – And I wasn’t quite ready to answer with ‘Yes’ – But in the case of the Arianna chick everybody who stays deserves IT -(whatever!)

    jlars Reply
    ‘As someone with frequent posts on the Huffingtonpost food section (Ozersky.TV) I can say that I’m not too worried about the pay/no-pay issue because they continue to allow us to run our own pre-roll ads on the videos we post there and the additional 10x volume in traffic makes it worth while for us.
    Here’s my question for the fellow commenters: would you rather read the Huffington Post for free or read the NY Times for a subscription, or some other source altogether?

    pieceofcake Reply
    Yep – that’s what’s wrong with America: Writers on the Huffpo are happy to get 10x volume on their little ads instead of pocketing together the Millions they ‘slaved’ together for darling Arianna – What a ‘clever chick’ she is – and yeah – these NYT ‘suckers’ trying to get some more dough to pay their writers – The Intertubes should be Free and Arianna – daling –
    could you please work -
    for me??!!
    and jlars don’t y’all -(writers on Huffpo) – realize that Y’all are ‘Huffpo’?
    Y’all would do wonderful without Arianna darling!
    AND ALL y’all got to do – but ALL of YOU – Open a new site!!
    Call it whatever you want – With the traffic y’all create you can sell it to AOL -(after they have given back Arianna her empty shell!)
    And then she could hang out at her talkshows as long as she wants and write a sunday wrap-up for y’all from time to time -(but please without getting payed)

  13. pieceofcake says:

    and this:
    Fair enough and I read Nate’s piece and as I said: That’s Americas problem – Business models of a… holes broken down into all these neat ‘individualistic’ pieces and then the a..holes -(Arianna) – and their accidental helpers -(Nate) are able to tell each of the ‘individualistic little pieces’ -(unpaid and a few paid blogger) – “Nah your work actually is not worth that much — Look at your page views”!!!
    And quite mindboggling – the idiots believe it – while in more advanced and civilized societies, where they think more ‘gesamtheitlich’ – somebody looks at the WHOLE f… cake and says: “Wow – that WHOLE thing is worth over 300 Million? – and now quick – let’s talk about, who ‘created’ this amazing wealth out of ‘Internetnothing’ and how does a fair distribution of this sudden COMMON wealth look like?
    And Hey! that has nothing to do with ‘Unionizing’ or ‘Socialism’. We are talking here about the ‘virtues of capitalism’ and I know Arianna loves it that y’all are happy with your crumbs.
    That’s soo American too – and as there still is a lot of ‘Greek’ in here, (a great civilzation) – I as a half European understand her thinking very well. She is sitting somewhere smiling and saying to herself: “America the beautiful, where all these ηλίθιος create ‘hot’ for ME! – Haha! – And how do you value ‘hot’? They can’t – they’re all like this top-dude in Harvard who even didn’t understand facebook – so they NEVER will be able to value ‘hot” – AND I cash in”! “And the beautiful irony: You only can do that in the ‘Third World Country’ I’m writing about – and then I sell myself as being ‘empathetic’ and ‘social’” – YEAH!!!
    - and I really have to give IT to Arianna! –
    DALING!!! –
    Do you hear me?!
    You created a beautiful ‘classical Gesamtkunstwerk’ !

    (and I’m sorry for being so rude and uncivil but I have learned that I have to grab my fellow American ‘citizens’ by their preverbaral ‘balls’ or they don’t even get out of their seats!)

  14. delusions says:

    Four legs good!

    Two legs bad!

  15. pieceofcake says:

    The response frome Arianna Huffington:

    As a proud capitalistic American girl I always loved Las Vegas but since it has turned into a socialistic and communistic nightmare the love is dissipating fast. I don’t know if you read that in the last two years the casinos on the strip lost billions of bucks. They now have to be heavily subsidized and socialists like Steve Wynn and communists like Sheldon Adelson are bailing out these bankrupt enterprises in no time instead of letting them collapse. On top of it these ruthless destroyers of capitalism have spearheaded a proletarian revolution, which created the classless and stateless society promised by Karl Marx.

    The upside of capitalism always have been that there is a difference between rich and poor – and you GOT to see it!! But now every Tom Dick and Harry shows up at the XS nightclub and you even don’t have to have bottle service anymore. And the uniformity is sickening, like Russia under Stalin or Germany under Hitler, or like shopping in one of these 99 cents stores. Herds of hairdresser from the valley show up and nothing against hairdresser they at least do a useful Job.

    But to get Back to Steve Wynn. It all started with him, when he offered rooms in his hotels for around 150 bucks. I mean he put over 1 Million in some of these rooms and to give them away for a price, which hardly covers the cost of the carpets or the drapes was not only a f… shame but also a shocking redistribution of wealth.

    When Karl Marx wrote his ‘Kommunistisches Manifest’ and he categorically demanded that the means of production have to be in the hand of the people he never thought that the ‘means of production’ one day could mean ‘red ink galore’. Like in communistic East Germany before the collapse, when there hardly was any company left who still made money – AS in Las Vegas 2011.

    And now f… guess: ‘Who is paying for all this deficit and debt’?

    It’s the communistic comrades of these American traitors. Wynn and Adelson are just marionettes of a international conspiracy to enslave American cocktail waitresses, concierges and valet attendants and it’s such a sophisticated and evil plot, that not even Glenn Beck has gotten a ‘whiff’ of it yet. So – in implanting their evil plan Wynn and Adelson have opened casinos in Macau to subsidize bankrupt America. Charlie Sheen might say: ‘that’s winning’ and Rebecca Black probably would make a song about it – if it wouldn’t be so disgusting unpatriotic. Only Steve Wynn has showed some kind of remorse, when he was thinking about moving his headquarter all the way to China and become a honest Chinese citizen.

    So all in all it’s a f… disgrace when Steve Wynn went to Bellagio (the real one in Italy) and his communist friends told him ‘communism is when everybody drives a Ferrari’ – and the Idiot believed it!

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