Our friends at the Washington Examiner reported briefly yesterday from the Huffington Post Oasis in Tampa:
When bleary-eyed reporters and convention delegates arrive at the Huffington Post Oasis just outside the Republican National Convention, Arianna Huffington appears almost like a mirage. Then, she snaps into action.
"Would you like to do some yoga?" she greets folks, shaking hands, introducing others as new friends. "Do you know each other?" she mused.
"I love meeting people and welcoming people and making sure everybody is taken care of," she told Yeas & Nays.
It's hard to imagine Republicans like, say, New Jersey governor Chris Christie or former presidential candidate Rick Santorum taking Arianna up on that offer—though yoga is part of the P90X program that has reportedly given Paul Ryan an impressive six-pack. That's not all the Oasis offers, though. As the Examiner's Nikki Schwab tells us, the conservative-turned-liberal Huffington is also "offering attendees free massages, meals, and make-up touch-ups, among other services."
No word on what those "other services" include, but the masseuses are certainly looking for tips: As Jim Romenesko reveals, the same online publication that famously refuses to pay its writers is making its Oasis staff work for free, too. The National Writers Union tipped him off with a press release: "Like its thousands of citizen journalists and bloggers, the massage professionals are unpaid and working for 'exposure.'"
“The National Writers Union believes if you do original reporting, work with an editor, and publish at a for-profit web site like the Huffington Post you should be compensated for your work. If you’re a health professional providing a service for a wealthy corporation, you should likewise be fairly paid,” says Larry Goldbetter, President of the National Writers Union.
A HuffPost rep defended the use of unpaid labor to New York magazine, saying "that the health team on hand at the Oasis are actually volunteers from the yoga-evangelizing nonprofit Off the Mat and Into the World, and that HuffPo has made a contribution to the cause. And yes, they do accept tips."