Tim Armstrong, chief executive of AOL, to the New York Times in response to news that TechCrunch founding editor Michael Arrington has started a $20 million venture fund that will invest in technology startups.
TechCrunch is an AOL property.
Arrington, and TechCrunch by extension, has often come under fire for conflict of interest. Arrington’s response is usually that he’s transparent about his investments in technology companies that TechCrunch covers.
Still though, say what, huh? Transparency is a key value in today’s news environment but running a leading technology publication while heading up a venture fund that invests in technology companies is, how should we say, beyond problematic for TechCrunch as a trustworthy brand.
Perhaps sensing that, Business Insider just reported that Arianna Huffington has told them that Arrington no longer works for TechCrunch and will not report to her at the AOL Huffington Post Media Group.
However, Business Insider says they are getting mixed signals about the veracity of that claim.
Update: Kara Swisher chimes in at AllThingsD:
And so it goes in Silicon Valley.
In fact, the creation of a $20 million investment kitty that Arrington has dubbed CrunchFund is simply the formalization of a long-standing arrangement that has already been going on since he founded his popular tech blog.
That is to say, in which the basic standards of journalism are first warped by calling it newfangled truth-telling and then endlessly corroded by using a wily and unusually aggressive combination of favors and threats to extract, from start-ups and VCs in need of press, both exclusive access and information.
And now, inevitably, money.