Saturday, August 13, 2005

Exultation Of Profits Is An American Weakness

Written from Telegraph Creek, BC--

In reaction to my blog suggesting shutting down or selling the Chicago Tribune and putting its value into the L.A. Times, an anonymous comment suggests the Tribune be kept because its profit margin was 29%, while the L.A. Times' was only 18%.

This is why America is sinking, folks. The reason the L.A. Times and the New York Times have been great papers is that the owners were willing to accept a smaller profit margin, so as to insure quality newspapers.

The Chicago Tribune is consistently a mediocre paper, because its owners have cared more about making money than giving their readers a quality product. Soon after the Tribune bought the Times, a Times writer went to Chicago on assignment. He returned to say that after looking at the Tribune, he felt the Times was bound to go down in quality, because the Tribune had no quality.

Profit has its place, and losing money will not keep a paper or any other enterprise going for very long.

But what is a decent profit? The Tribune margin of 29% is an obscene profit, and its owners ought to be thrown in jail, not complimented, for giving their readers short shrift, for treating their inadequately paid staff badly, and for committing positive sins.

The L.A. Times and the NYT provide public service. That's why I say, keep them going. When Times-Mirror was sold to the Tribune Co., it was the moneygrubbing branches of the Chandler family that sold out Los Angeles to the greasy Easterners. And they did it, because money had become more important to them than doing good works.

That disgraceful act should be undone. There can be arguments about it, of course, but the anonymous commentator who says the Tribune makes more money is not a good American. He or she puts profit above quality, and that is a sin. Dante would put this guy or gal in hell and let him or her roast forever.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is where you are wrong.

The Los Angeles Times went broke. That's what happens when you get into billions of dollars in debt. Now, tell me, how that constitutes success.

The Los Angeles Times was not supported by the public. Or their advertisers. The paper sold less newspapers in 2000 than in 1960. Tell me how that means you have a good product.

The Times had to sell newspapers all the way from San Diego to Ventura in 2000 to pull a million subscribers. The Los Angeles Times penetration rate was the lowest in the industry. Now tell me how that means the paper was quality.

Under the Los Angeles Times' benevolent watch, Los Angeles became a Third World City. Now tell me how that is a public service.

And as far as putting profit against quality, the public proved that the Los Angeles Times was not quality. They cancelled their subscriptions. They voted. You lost.

It's called democracy.

8/13/2005 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "The Los Angeles Times went broke."

Excuse me? Not true. An astounding falsehood.

How about some documentation, proof, quotations, honest reportage, to back up your statements.

Feel free to hate the Times and join with those who don't read it. But please, no more sweeping generalizations. Thank you.

8/13/2005 11:41 PM  
Blogger Mediaskeptic said...

When the LAT was $5 billion in debt, sir, they were broke!

Look it up.

8/15/2005 1:26 AM  
Anonymous RSmith said...

$5 billion in debt? Source, please.

8/18/2005 5:16 PM  

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