News sites (I don't read papers) and blogs are full of the financial implications of the AOL-Huffington Post deal and who the immediate financial winners are and possible long-term financial losers will be, but none I've seen discuss the political and journalistic implications.AOL's surprise purchase of The Huffington Post for $315 may increase the web traffic and revenue for both, but it will also increase the country's political polarization.In is book, Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide, Cass Sunstein writes:In a wide variety of experimental contexts, people's opinions have been shown to become more extreme simply because their initial views have been corroborated and because they have been more confident after learning the shared views of others.Thus, Fox News polarizes because conservatives who watch it have their initial views corroborated and MSNBC polarizes because the same thing happens to liberals.In the flurry of business and technology reasons for doing the deal, observers seem to have forgotten that Arianna Huffington had primarily a political reason, not financial reason, for creating the Huffington Post &#8211; she wanted to promote a liberal, progressive agenda in order to counteract the right-wing, pro-Bush conservative agenda promoted by talk-radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.The Huffington Post was a politically oriented website which featured blog posts by liberals, including, of course, Arianna herself.Arianna has become the leading media light for blogging, and her constant appearance on panels, in the media, at conferences, and in her own books, have been primarily as an advocate for blogging and for a liberal point of view.I'm pleased to see some serious bucks (one estimate is that Arianna made $100 million on the deal) go to a liberal instead of going to Rush, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, and, of course, the emperor of right-wingers, Rupert Murdoch.However, part of the deal was that Arianna will now be the Editor in Chief of all AOL content. As a progressive myself, I guess I'm pleased with the prospect that all AOL will have an avowed liberal heading editorial, but I'm not sure it's good for fair and balanced journalism.Fox News has completely corrupted the notion of fair and balanced news, as has MSNBC, to a lesser extent. MSNBC, outside of its primetime programming that features Chris Matthews, Larry O'Donnell, and Rachel Maddow, does try to be fair and balanced. However, their star personalities don't; they conspicuously try to counter Fox News and correct, on air, some of the factual mistakes Fox News makes (obviously, they couldn't correct all of the factual errors, it would take a full 18 hours a day).So I think MSBNC the journalistic equivalent of being "a little bit pregnant." There is no such thing. "Pregnant" is an absolute word &#8211; you either are or you're not. Just as "unique" is an absolute concept &#8211; something is either unique or it's not. Something can't be "very unique." Journalism is an absolute concept. It's either fair and balanced content or it's not. Thus, MSNBC is not a cable network driven by journalism; it's driven by opinion, as is Fox News. As is The Huffington Post.And its opinion that is currently popular&#8230;and at the same time polarizing, corroborating our initial, often unexamined, views. The Huffington Post got much more popular when it morphed is emphasis from political blog posts to aggregating news stories of a more sensational nature, to, let's admit it, tawdriness.When George Bernard Shaw was asked to compare himself to the great playwright Ibsen, Shaw compared Ibsen to a lion tamer who tries to cure sick lion by trying to open his jaws and force a pill down the lion's throat &#8211; the tamer gets mauled in the process. Shaw compares himself to the lion tamer who cures the sick lion by putting a slit in a big, thick steak and then placing the pill in the slit in the steak, and throwing the steak to the lion who gobbles it up and gets well, and the tamer (nee audience, public) is unharmed and happy.I guess the public does need their messages concealed in vaudeville, circuses, and steaks, but the question is, who decides what the message is. On Fox News it's Roger Ailes and, ultimately, Rupert Murdoch. Now on AOL it will be Arianna Huffington. Is this good for political discourse and journalism?Arianna may be able to provide an alternative to the bloviating of Rush and the craziness of Glenn, Sean, Bill, and Sarah &#8211; a good thing. But in doing so I believe she will run the risk of increasing political polarization in the country &#8211; not such a good thing. However, it may be inevitable in this age of polarization when fighting fire with fire is the only viable defense.But as the Green Bay Packers demonstrated in Super Bowl LXV, it takes a balance of defense and offense to win &#8211; please take note, Arianna.Until he retired in 2002, Charlie Warner was Vice President of AOL's Interactive Marketing division. Before joining AOL, he was the Goldenson Endowed Professor at the Missouri Journalism School where he taught media management and sales, and he created and ran the annual Management Seminar for News Executives. Charlie can be contacted at email@example.com.Read all Charlie&#8217;s MediaBizBloggers commentaries at The Media Curmudgeon.Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.comFollow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBloggerMediaBizBloggers is an open-thought leadership blog platform for media, marketing and advertising professionals, companies and organizations. To contribute, contact Jack@mediadvisorygroup.com. 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