Mike Arrington just booted Jay Rosen and Nora Ephron off stage in order to “have two minutes to talk to my boss.” Now he and Arianna Huffington, head of content at AOL, are chatting one-on-one in an interview that Mr. Arrington started off somewhat aggressively with, “You’re my boss and I’ve actually had to report to you… is it as awkward for you as it is for me? I’m not good at reporting to people. Is it going to work?”
It’s worked so far, Ms. Huffington said, admitting that they’ve had conflicts but have worked them out, as she artfully deflected Mr. Arrington’s belligerent line of questions.
“I thought you were going to IPO,” he said, as if he regretted that The Huffington Post had not chosen this path.
(TechCrunch has posted a few innocuous internal memos since being acquired by AOL, gleefully thumbing its nose at the parent company in a demonstration of its editorial independence that at times feels hammy. “The last thing we want to happen is to end up with same cuddly relationship that the Wall Street Journal has with its sister company MySpace, for example,” Mr. Arrington wrote at the time the acquisition was announced.)
At one point Ms. Huffington plugged AOL property Mapquest, which Mr. Arrington immediately dismissed as a lousy product and submitted that Ms. Huffington had never used it. “I don’t want to call you a liar on stage,” he said.
“It has an infinitely cooler name,” Ms. Huffington said.
Mr. Arrington was unconvinced.
“That’s what I love about Michael,” Ms. Huffington said. “He can just say anything he wants even if its not based on fact”–she caught herself before the end of the sentence–”except if its on TechCrunch. Just on stage.”
Ms. Huffington then told a story about a time she successfully used Mapquest in Denver. “Just give it a try,” she said.
“We’re all going to do that,” Mr. Arrington deadpanned.