Tag Archives: writing/blogging

Huffington Post SNAFU, Again?


981 in one hour. That was a big hour.

my stats are still growing

Today was a great day. Today I logged into the old Huffington Post publishing platform and was given the opportunity to open a publishing account on the new platform. I jumped at the chance and spaced my four posts out over the morning. Putting one in each of my main categories. Single Parenting, Divorce, and Health. And everything looked great until after lunch.

At that time one of my posts started to take off. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited I took this screencast video of my stats going wild.

And just as I was getting excited about it. I was blocked again. Shut down. Killed. And the post that was trending showed (shows) this.



I’m concerned mainly because I had been shut out of publishing on the HuffPo platform for over a year without any explanation. I tried sending emails to blogteam@huffingtonpost.com and even the Divorce editor brittany.wong@huffingtonpost.com but never got a single response. What gives? So today I’m back ON and I start to show results and I’m banned again? I sent this letter to the blogteam.


And while I don’t ever expect a response, my posts are still showing as LIVE on my HuffPo author’s page.


I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it. I’m not sure we will ever be told what happened, or why I’ve been banned and am now apparently banned again. For legal reasons (that’s got to be it, right) they are not telling me anything. I’m holding my breath, however, because the thrill of seeing my blog blow up was very nice.

And now my Facebook shares look like this:


I’m sad, but not surprised. I’ll be surprised if I get ANY response out of Brittany or the Blog Team.

UPDATE: This evening I’m afraid to even try and login. My account is in some sort of unstable mode where the site flashes on and off. Here’s the log-in screen.


And what the “Statement of Community” says:

Statement of Community

The Huffington Post’s Contributor Network is a forum for ideas, discussion and diverse viewpoints. We offer a state-of-the-art platform that can help you bring your work to one of the internet’s largest audiences.

Be interesting, be entertaining, be provocative, have a point of view – but do it with a great respect for the readers and writers who join you on these pages. The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

Let’s see if the community will respond with an answer to my entire set of posts being taken down.

UPDATE: The mystery continues. This morning when I log-in my account is in some possessed form of code hell. As if they were blocking my account, but didn’t do it correctly.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

The Huffington Post LIE

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Dear Me, Congratulations on getting your by-line on The Huffington Post. We’re glad you decided to give us publishing rights to your content for free. We hope you enjoy your experience here. We’re awesome. Welcome.


And the succession of 50 odd posts I got published on the site was also a thrill.

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And I generated quite a bit of traffic for my blog The Whole Parent. It was a match made in heaven. I was writing a positive co-parenting blog and The Huffington Post was benefiting (still benefits) from my writing. What I got in return was traffic, a by-line and bio page on The Huffington Post. Boom. I had arrived as a writer.

Then last November, as in a year and 2 months ago, my last post appeared on The Huffington Post under the Fitness and Lifestyle banner. See, I’d been doing so good, I had started publishing from another blog on The Huffington Post as well. But without a whimper or reason, my publishing never progressed beyond submission. And I continued to submit my work religiously.

In general they do reserve the right to NOT publish your work. But I had a 95% publish ratio. We liked each other. I even had a viral hit that was published under the Women banner. It was about dating.

You know, they even wrote a piece on me about being a divorced dad and my divorce survival skills. Another great honor. I started asking the blogteam@huffingtonpost.com questions about what was going on. And I got ZERO responses.

I still have no idea what happened. Does The Huffington Post have a kill button that censors a writer, causing their posts not to show up in the slush pool of available articles? Did someone take offense to something I had written? Had I gotten too big for my britches? Well, it wouldn’t be so bad if I had a clue what I did, or who black-listed me. But I heard crickets.

So I reached out directly to Adrianna. She, in fact, is who personally invited me to the Post. I reached out to the editors of each of the sections I had published with before. Health and Lifestyle, Parenting, Dating, Divorce, Dads. And somewhere along the chain of command, even their responses were shut down. I heard nothing. It seemed there was nothing I could do, but stop publishing, or trying to publish on The Huffington Post.

But my publishing credentials are still live. They are still generating traffic from my content. And they are still not publishing any of my writing. I’m ready to take this to the next level. Now it’s personal.

Let’s look at the editorial board for my biggest section DIVORCE.

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I’m pretty sure Brittany is the woman who wrote the Huff Po piece on me. Let’s go see…

7 Things That Helped This Single Dad Feel Whole Again Post-Split by Brittany Wong

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Then something funny and fishy happened.

Update 8-20-15:  I got a Twitter response from Sr. Women’s Editor Emma Gray. And just as I responded to her she deleted the tweet. (Before I was able to screen grab it. But I have the traces captured elsewhere.) Then, I’m pretty sure she MUTED me on Twitter. (A first for me.)

So when she tweeted back to me she said, “That’s above my purview.” She was saying, she had no idea why I was being prevented from getting any articles published. Why then would she DELETE the Tweet and BLOCK me on Twitter? Was I being abusive? Did someone tell her I’m a pervert, or a dead beat dad, or something that makes me offensive? I don’t know. And since she’s muted me on Twitter she doesn’t even see when I tweet at her. BAD FORM Emma Gray BAD FORM HUFFINGTON POST.

So the woman who wrote the nice post on me and my divorce survival strategy doesn’t have the time to respond to me? Or she’s not allowed to tell me what’s going on? Both of which are awful concepts.

One thing is certain: The Huffington Post is being run by children. Low cost millennials who are happy to work for recognition and ego strokes. Titles like Editor and Executive Editor on one of the globe’s leading media publishing companies. Pretty impressive to me, as well. But the youngsters are running Adrianna’s empire as she continues to cut media deals.

Adrianna had a vision for The Huffington Post. She’s too busy with her GMP and Good News love fest to pay attention to what’s going on in the inner workings of her Blog Team. And why should she. We know the power of the Huffington Post is politics. And we’re ramping up for a doozy of an election year.

So I’ve been swept under the proverbial rug. But I won’t go quietly. It’s time to blast and blanket the editorial team until I get an answer. I’ll start with the woman who wrote the piece on me. Let’s see if I can get a single response out of a single human being (young human being) about why I can’t get any of my 30+ submissions published, when I still have 50 articles live on The Huffington Post.

John McElhenney Huffington Post Archive

I never give up. The dream was big when I got accepted and added Huffington Post author to my material. Today, it’s been a year and 2 months since they pushed on of my articles live. I’m still writing at the top of my game, and still writing about positive post-divorce strategies for parenting, dating, and staying healthy. What’s not to love?

I’ve still got Brittany’s email address. Let’s see if she will share some information about WHAT’S GOING ON AT THE HUFFINGTON POST?

My by-line Googled: John McElhenney

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

My correspondence with Arianna Huffington:

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And today I wrote Arianna a letter. Sure, the odds are low on getting any response from her, but I have to keep trying.

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Why Are We Losing Men’s Voices on The Huffington Post? Why It’s A Big Issue.

I tried asking questions first. For a month. And got no reply from any of the Blog Team or directly from Arianna. Dear Huffington Post, WTF Is Going On with You? So, I guess I need to dig a bit deeper to see if I can understand what’s going on with the conversation about Parenting, Relationships, and Divorce at the Huffington Post.

Women *and* men get divorced, our children are along for the ride, we both make the difference in how their lives and future relationships will be managed.

I am not claiming that men’s voices have been completely shut out of the Family & Relationships sections of The Huffington Post. But I do see that the Divorce, Parenting, and Dating posts are 95% by women for women. Something bigger is going on here. Something that creates a complete imbalance in the viewpoints discussed, something that misses the fact that in traditional parenting one woman AND one man are required.

I was a Huffpost blogger with great success in the Parenting, Dating, and Divorce sections. I’m not saying I made the Front Page, but I often made the front page of these sections. And my posts are still live on The Huffington Post, gathering traffic for them, and a few click-throughs for me. And I’m very interested in keeping men in the conversation about these very important topics. I’m a contributing editor to The Good Men Project, who regularly shares content with The Huffington Post. Even last week, one of our editors, and good friend, Mark Greene was interviewed by Huffington Post about his transformative ideas about divorce and parenting. BRAVO!

But why are there no men editors in the entire staff of Family & Relationships? If you look at The Good Men project, a site that shouts, “The Conversation That No One Else is Having,” you’ll see a pretty even balance between men and women. It’s important, even in a powerful site about men that women and women’s voices are represented fairly. So why is the Huffington Post so down on men? Or is it just me?

Here’s the staff section from Family & Relationships section of The Huffington Post.

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Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 8.22.05 AMAnd while it’s not a bad thing to have mostly women, and mostly women in their twenties and thirties running such a critical portion of The Huffington Post, can you see how their perspectives might be a bit skewed? And when the Senior Editor on Divorce is also the Senior Editor on Weddings… And is, just getting married… You can imagine that “divorce” might not be one of her points of interests. And I’m guessing not part of her history, either.

I’m not sure how I would compartmentalize my enthusiasm for this major beginning in my young life, while espousing the views and pains of so many older women, and yes, men. And it’s sorry what’s happened to the sections over all. The conversation is not so much a conversation any more, it’s a blast of celebrity reporting (marriages and divorces) alongside some well-known authorities on dating and divorce. And mostly… eh hem… women.

And I have to respect the business model here. The Huffington Post is in this business to make money. And if their demographic is 90% young upwardly-mobile women, well, then I guess they’ve nailed it. But I’m pretty sure the intension that Erma Bombeck had when she convinced Arianna to start the divorce section was something more inclusive. After all, divorce usually involves two people, and 50% of those people happen to be men.

The story that Arianna tells is that she was approached about adding a Divorce section and she asked Erma why. Erma responded, “Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever.” It’s on the Divorce Masthead, though no longer attributed to her. The light went on for Arianna and the section was born and has thrived ever since.

I’ve chosen to live my life and to survive my divorce by finding the good in everything that comes my way.

I met Arianna at a trade show in 2013 where she spoke about her newest passion, The Third Metric. In that meeting of high-level communicators, she gave out her email address asking the audience to send her their ideas. And true to form, she responded to my email within a few hours of that trade show. I imagined her zooming to the airport in her limo and cleaning out her inbox with a fury and efficiency.

At that moment, she caught my voice in the post that I sent her. Here’s her emailed response to me that same day. It was a HUGE win for me.


And 8-months later I really hit the post sums up the bulk of my writing on Divorce.

click to read article on Huff Po
Getting men’s real and honest stories in the mix of the conversation about Parenting, Dating, and Divorce is critical for all of us.

What you see there is a picture of a dad’s hand and the hand of my two young children. I have pledged to say 100% positive about my divorce, and in all of my dealings with my co-parent and ex-wife. That’s my message. There are Good Men who get divorced. There are good father’s who try to stay connected as often as they are allowed, even when the system is stacked against them. I write The Whole Parent as a voice for men who are doing parenting right, before, during, and after divorce.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get new posts up on The Huffington Post. And I’m not sure that’s important to me any more. But getting men’s real and honest stories in the mix of the conversation about Parenting, Dating, and Divorce is critical for all of us. Sure, professionals who write about the subject and offer platitudes and brief sounds bites of men’s stories, to illustrate their points, are fine, but they are professionals, and therapists, and lawyers. Even if they’ve been through a divorce of their own, they are now making it their business to tell us what to do.

farahWhen The Huffington Post lost Farrah Miller as an editor (she was the person Arianna cc’d on the email above) we lost an experienced editor with a broader vision.

I don’t know what to do. I only know that I’ve chosen to live my life and to survive my divorce by finding the good in everything that comes my way. Have I lost a lot in the process, yes. But I have also gained a new voice, a resonant voice that comes from deep within me, and sings out MY STORY, and ultimately, MY POSITIVE STORY OF DIVORCE.

I think men need to be in the conversation, and I would like Arianna Huffington to address this lopsided conversation with the same vision she had when she started the section with her dear friend. Women and men get divorced, our children are along for the ride, both partners have a huge impact on our kids lives and future relationships will be managed. If only a small percentage of the posts are by men, and 90% of those men are relationship professionals (lawyers, coaches, and therapists) rather than fathers, then the conversation on the Huffington Post is written by women and to women. That is not a not a holistic or healthy conversation at all.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)


The Creative Impulse: Easy to Contain, Easier to Kill



It is much easier to ignore our creative impulses than to indulge in the craft of trying to bring them to life. That’s a real problem for a writer, painter, or musician. The little spark of an idea must be captured and fanned until it catches fire and becomes a story, painting, or song. It is the turning away from our creative impulses that can become an issue.

There are a lot of demands on our time. There is the demand to make money if we want to eat and have a place to live. There is the demand to be a parent and a partner if we have families.There is a demand for sleep, and food, and exercise. And if you can attend to all that, and carve out some time that you are not exhausted, well… usually it is in this “after time” that we can indulge our craft.

Even under the best circumstances, when you’ve harnessed the creative impulse and are well on your way to your next masterpiece, it is easy to get derailed.

When I was married with children I used to work on my music and writing between 10pm and 2am. It was the only window of time, after we had put the kids down for bed, that allowed me the long stretch of quiet time to engage with my creative muse. It wasn’t easy. My then-wife would complain if I didn’t help enough around the house. My job demanded I be sharp and not burned out. And some nights I would play video games rather than “create” because I was just too exhausted.

But the commitment to the craft was important to me. And the commitment today is even stronger. That is because I am nurturing the creative voice in my life. I am listening for the creative impulses and trying to go with the flow. I’m not always successful, but I’m always trying.

The other morning, before work, I was struck by a song idea that wouldn’t be tamed. And I thought I had my music capture method down. I recorded some guitar parts into garageband. Or did I put them on video on my phone? Hmmm. Anyway, during the course of the morning I was uber-inspired, so I also wrote down the lyrics about an hour later. Everything was flowing. But… I was running out of time. I had a meeting I had to attend in person.

Here is where the problem is.

I tried to capture all the parts of the song, but just as I should’ve recorded a single, guitar-voice version, I didn’t. I imagined that my multiple capture points had gotten enough of the creative impulse for me to recreate the feeling several days later when I came back to the idea. I was wrong.

The “several days later” became more than a week. And when I finally carved out a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, there was no amount of coffee or enthusiasm that could breathe life into my “parts.” I was sad but not broken. Even in the recovery of ideas, it can still be a “moment” thing. I need to come back to that song idea when I’m fresh.

So even under the best circumstances, when you’ve harnessed the creative impulse and are well on your way to your next masterpiece, it is easy to get derailed. Even when you think you have all the pieces and parts and processes down. It really is “the moment” some times that requires the full attention. Delay and deflection of that creative drive will usually result in a less vibrant expression.

Keep your impulses high. When you have the gift of an idea run with it until you capture as much of it as time will allow. And, in my experience, come back to the idea as soon as possible to reignite the threads of energy that began to weave into the creative work.

Write. Sing. Paint. Draw.

And to it as often as time will allow.


John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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