Friday, September 08, 2006

Macy's Ads Wrapped Around Three LAT Sections A New Low

Since buying the L.A. Times and other Times-Mirror papers in 2000, the Tribune Co. has disgraced itself, letting Times circulation drop by 250,000, laying people off, reducing the news hole and dismissing Pulitzer Prize winners from the editorial pages. But seldom has there been a more offensive single act than the Macy's ads wrapped around the Times' California, Calendar and Sports sections today.

To get to the news, you had to take these ads off and throw them away. They are part of the campaign to let disgusting advertisements more and more overwhelm the newspaper.

Now, I never shop at Macy's anyway. It is a second rate Eastern store that replaced a good store, Bullock's, and there is no reason to patronize it. It offers Southern California nothing. But by intruding on to the reading enjoyment of Times subscribers, Macy's ought now to be positively boycotted. It's changed the names of such traditional stores as Robinson-May and Marshall Field to Macy's and is celebrating the fact with these ads. But it's like changing the name of Perino's to McDonalds; it's not going to fool the public into thinking Macy's is a quality store.

For allowing their sections to be denigrated in such a fashion, Janet Clayton and John Montorio should consider resigning as editors. If they stay, and this becomes common practice, their reputations in the news business will take severe hits. I think that Randy Harvey, editor of Sports, who is clearly struggling to build a better section, should stay, however.

Advertising is slowly corrupting America. It has lengthened football games to nearly four hours. It spoils the nightly newscasts. It may be necessary to support journalistic enterprises, but it gets more intrusive every year. I consciously do not patronize annoying advertisers, and I throw away whole advertising supplements and sections, like the ones that mark the Saturday L.A. Times, every week.

In its constant search for the lowbrow, worst tastes of the Los Angeles public, the Times also has been printing more cheesecake. Such a picture also adorns page one of the California section today. She's a beautiful woman, but it would be more appropriate for her to appear in the National Enquirer, especially because the Times picture makes her appear naked from the waist down. This, as the late editor Nick Williams would have said, is not suitable for a family paper.

What can be done?

The best tactic would be to take today's advertisements down to the Times and dump them on the front sidewalk, or, if one is really ambitious, wrap them up in something really smelly and send them to Dennis FitzSimons, CEO of the Tribune Co., and the man ultimately responsible for these terrible exploitative acts.

Meanwhile, we have to ask ourselves, What's next? Maybe they will take Amy Wilentz's book insulting California and distribute it with the paper to new subscribers. Maybe, they will replace headlines with other ads. Maybe they will add new useless summary pages. Maybe, they will bring Wendy McCaw in to handle staff relations. Whatever they do, it's more and more certain we won't like it.

-- -- --

ESPN's broadcast of Thursday night's football game in Boise, Idaho, between Boise State and Oregon State featured blue uniforms against a blue-colored field and was actually annoying to watch. What a turnoff!


Anonymous Just wants real news said...

Thank you! I'm glad to hear someone else was just as annoyed and insulted.

9/09/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I shopped at Bullocks, BW, I. Magnin and Buffums(god, does anyone remember Buffums? Wasn't it named for Buff Chandler?)as a little girl; I miss them all desperately. The Bullocks Wilshire stores on Wilshire, in Pasadena and Palm Springs were iconic, like shopping at a 4 star hotel(for me), and I'm still not quite certain why THEY had to go and Bergdorf's and Lord & Taylor remain as "names" in NYC. It's painful.

9/09/2006 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I welcome all those trashy ads in the Trimes. They are perfect for lining cat boxes, and I am an old cat lady with lots of felines, so the more the merrier. Do you think they would like me to return some of this material in used condition? They seem hungry for money, perhaps they could recycle it and make a few extra cents.

9/09/2006 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that they also split the Calendar section into TWO sections to accommodate ONE MORE AD.

9/14/2006 3:51 PM  

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