Christmas comes early

Bonus Bonus!: NYTimes discovers that continuing the Howell Raines tradition of alienating half their national audience isn’t a good business plan.

The New York Times Co. said Tuesday it would cut about 500 jobs, or about 4 percent of its work force, as part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs. The reductions come atop another 200 jobs that were cut earlier this year.

Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. tries to explain the Times’ decline on the economy:

"We regret that we will see many of our colleagues leave the Company; it is a painful process for all of us. We have been tested many times in our 154-year history as we are being tested now.
Given the continued financial challenges and the cloudy economic outlook for the remainder of the year, we believe it is prudent and necessary to initiate this additional reduction. We will be working through the bargaining issues with our unions and will observe all contractual obligations, including severance where applicable. The Company plans to manage the staff reductions in such a way that we continue to provide our readers, users, listeners and viewers with journalism of the highest quality and that our operations function smoothly on a day-to-day basis. This will help ensure that we achieve our long-term strategic goals.”

But Gannett, owner of over 300 newspapers including USA Today, is doing just fine. Unless making money isn’t one of Sulzburger’s strategic goals he better wean his editors off of advocacy journalism real quick.

*Ask me about how the Sulzburger family stripped the New York Times Co. shareholders of all meaningful voting rights therefore removing the last barrier of oversight capabile of keeping the once great grey lady from slipping into liberal crapulence. Do it! Do it!

BONUS: The ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting believes NPR programming is extremely biased and that the resulting alienation this has caused is producing an audience that is completely counter to the populist objectives of the CPB’s founding charter; wefare media for the wealthy.

"Like many metropolitan areas, Washington has multiple NPR and PBS outlets. One evening this summer, Boaz was listening to public radio when a commentary by liberal former Labor Secretary Robert Reich was aired. Boaz switched to another NPR station, only to hear the views of liberal commentator Daniel Schorr. "That's not just liberal bias," Boaz says, "it is a liberal roadblock."

PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell assured the Senate subcommittee that "our viewers and our supporters reflect and mirror very closely the demographic make-up of our communities." Potential advertisers are told instead of a 2003 Mediamark poll commissioned by NPR. Compared to the general public, NPR listeners are 152 percent more likely to own a home valued at $500,000 or more; 194 percent more likely to travel to France; and 326 percent more likely to read the "New Yorker."

I really, really despise(d) Paul Krugman, but I know this already has been talked to death elsewhere so I’ll be brief. I’m just amazed that the ombudsman of the NYTimes has come out publicly stating that the left’s best known economist is a serial liar. Better still -- despite knowing of Krugman’s deceptions, the editorial staff of the paper has apparently decided not to enforce its own editorial policies.

An Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times who makes an error "is expected to promptly correct it in the column." That's the established policy of Gail Collins, editor of the editorial page. Her written policy encourages "a uniform approach, with the correction made at the bottom of the piece."

The following refers to a recent column in which he misrepresented findings of the media panel regarding the outcome of the 2000 election, and then lied about them again in his correction of the first column.

All Mr. Krugman has offered so far is a faux correction. Each Op-Ed columnist has a page in nytimes.com that includes his or her past columns and biographical information. Mr. Krugman has been allowed to post a note on his page that acknowledges his initial error, but doesn't explain that his initial correction of that error was also wrong. Since it hasn't been officially published, that posting doesn't cause the correction to be appended to any of the relevant columns.
If the problem is that Mr. Krugman doesn't want to give up precious space in his column for a correction, there are alternatives. Perhaps some space could be found elsewhere on the Op-Ed page so that readers—especially those using electronic versions of his pieces -- could get the accurate information they deserve.
A bottom-line question: Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times's credibility more than having no policy at all?

So now having been officially reviled by his own paper, I don’t think anyone can argue he has any meaningful credibility anymore. He’s done.

Now I can focus on Robert Reich…


Ben said...

I'll take your bait. So how did the Sulzburger fam come to override NYT shareholders?

Andrew said...

Why thank you for asking!


Normally, in a public company, you would expect the independent directors to take action to stem the losses and to enhance shareholder value. The New York Times is not a normal public company, however.
The New York Times gets away with its appalling stewardship of its franchise, because it is not in business principally for its readers or its shareholders. There are around 144,000,000 shares of the New York Times that trade freely, but these do not have any power. Control of the New York Times resides in a mere 738,810 shares of non-trading class B stock which reside in a family trust and have the power to elect 70% of the Board of Directors. Pause a moment to take this in: one half of one percent (0.5%) of the stock of the New York Times gets to elect 70% of the directors.
The New York Times is upfront about all this of course in its Proxy Statement filed with the SEC, in which it details the objective of the family’s 1997 trust:
The primary objective of the 1997 Trust is to maintain the editorial independence and the integrity of The New York Times and to continue it as an independent newspaper, entirely fearless, free of ulterior influence and unselfishly devoted to the public welfare…
Evidently the term “public welfare” does not include the welfare of shareholders.