L.A. Times Sale May Be Nearer, As Times Editors Defy Tribune
I've been traveling all day by Southwest Airlines back to New Hampshire, so this is my first chance to respond to today's story in the L.A. Times reporting that L.A. Times editors, including Dean Baquet, have defied demands by the reeling Tribune company executives that they continuing cutting back the paper's staff.
This is very heartening. It would have been better had Baquet done a citizen's arrest on Scott Smith when he came to Los Angeles, on the grounds that his company is stealing California money, and failing to honor its promises when it bought the paper. With the L.A. County Jail in the deplorable state that it's in, it would only be fair to give Smith a knife to defend himself while serving a protracted time in prison while the courts sorted out the legalities. No honest California judge would give him bail.
But if this is too much to hope for, still we have to give credit to Baquet and other editors. Also, credit should go to the 20 leading citizens who wrote to Tribune management deploring any further cutbacks at the Times and suggesting a sale of the paper if the Tribune can't live up to those responsibilities.
I agree with Kevin Roderick writing in L.A. Observed that the chances of a sale of the Times are now improving. Tribune stock is not rising, revenue is down, the goals of Dennis FitzSimons' stock buyback plan have so far not been realized. All these facts argue for a sale.
Smith's assertion that the Times has improved under Tribune ownership is laughable. Perhaps time in jail would improve his reasoning powers.
I came through Chicago today, and as usual the food at the Midway Airport was awful. It reminded me of the time, during the 1968 Democratic Convention, when I ordered enchiladas in the Windy City, and they came filled with potatoes. Chicago is a clueless city in many respects, but the Tribune management is even more clueless than the rest of the city.
Take heart, everyone. Better times are coming (unless they sell the paper to Wendy McCaw or Rupert Murdoch).