Sunday, September 18, 2005

David Geffen Makes An Offer To Buy L.A. Times

Stalin once observed, "Communism fits Poland like a saddle fits an ox."

Something of the same kind could be said of Chicago Tribune control over the L.A. Times. It is unthinkable that Californians would ever want their major institutions controlled by Midwesterners, especially from a city where I once ordered enchiladas and they came filled with potatoes.

So now we learn from the Times' media writer, James Rainey, that entertainment chieftain David Geffen went to see Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons to make him an offer to buy the Times.

FitzSimons, the man who has persistently tried to cut back the size of the staff and the quality of the Times,often as secretively as he could, and really should not be in charge of the Allentown papeer, much less the Times, says he told him the paper is not for sale.

I wonder. They said Michael Kinsley would stay on the job, too, but he didn't. Eventually, I hope and expect, the Times will be sold back to interests who care for it. Geffen would be far more intersted in leading L.A.'s newspaper than FitzSimons and his minions.

Rainey, by the way, is not too willing to face the facts about Tribune ownership and its consequences. For instance, he erroneously declares in his Saturday article about Geffen that in five years of Tribune ownership Times circulation has fallen from 1,018,000 to 902,000. This is wrong. When Mark Willes was ousted as CEO of Times-Mirror Times circulation exceeded 1,100,000.

But please, we have to learn not to trust media writers like Rainey, who reminds me of the Times writer who said Tom Johnson was being promoted when he was removed by Bob Erburu as publisher back in 1989.

Rainey is the same media writer who kicked around New York Times writer Judith Miller at a Berkeley seminar before she was thrown into political prison by the U.S. justice system.

But then L.A. Times writers perhaps understandably love to pick on the New York Times and its writers more than they would their own ultimate boss, Dennis FitzSimons.

Also, on Saturday, the LAT media columnist Tim Rutten is out there slashing away at the NYT's wonderful TV critic Alessandra Stanley in her battle with Fox News' Heraldo Rivera over whether he nudged a relief worker in New Orleans.

There's certainly more to say about Geffen's offer to buy the Times. How much is Geffen offering? And what do Times readers think? Would they rather have Chicago run Los Angeles rather than the other way around?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, just what we need. Geffen as owner of the Times. Doesn't the paper cater to the Westside enough now? What kind of hard-hitting pieces about the entertainment world would we see if Geffen controlled the Times? The paper would just be a mouthpiece for any Angeleno who buys it. How many Pulizter's would the Times win if Murdoch bought it. The rumor is that Riordan and Murdoch will team up and buy the Times and install Schwarzenegger as the Publisher. Karma is a bitch.

9/18/2005 12:11 PM  
Blogger Phil Krakover said...

How the mighty have fallen.

Really, who cares? I wish a corporate raider would just buy the Trib and dismantle all the papers and sell off the real estate.

Papers are going the way of buggy whips; Viva Le Blogosphere!!!

9/18/2005 11:03 PM  

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