Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dumping Hiller Over The Side Would Be Smart

Written Aboard M.S. Prinsendam, Approaching Namibia--

Giving it the coolest of all evaluations, it seems evident that getting rid of David Hiller as publisher of the L.A. Times, especially if he were to replace him with Jack Klunder, would be the smartest move Sam Zell could make.

New published reports about the Tribune Co., including an article by Richard Perez Pena in the New York Times, say Tribune is in danger of default and that more assets, such as the Chicago Cubs and Newsday, may have to be jettisoned. Advertising revenue at the Tribune newspapers is now down 10.5% below levels a year ago, and the television stations, where Zell has been making many moves, are said to have twice the profit margin of the newspapers.

But the L.A. Times remains the biggest single source of revenue at Tribune, and making a change of publishers, bringing in someone who understands California, could only enhance its return to the company.

Hiller is not only a failure, but an adject failure. If they want to be nice to him, maybe he could be traded to Singleton.

I'd set two goals by the end of my African trip May 23: Obama's becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee, and Hiller going. Both may be closer within reach than I had thought upon departure they would be. For one thing, Hillary Clinton continues, with her unwillingness to completely get rid of Mark Penn, to prove that she is a totally incompetent manager, unfit not only to be President "on day one," but also on day 1,000. She does not have the smarts of Obama, and now even her supporter in Pennsylvania, Gov. Rendell, says Penn should go, not simply be demoted.

Poor Hillary! Bill put her up to running, because he thought he could easily dominate her in the White House.


The ship today is 8,900 miles out of Fort Lauderdale and closing in on the first of two port calls in Namibia. Seas are rough, and a charity walk on the Prominade deck had to be postponed for fear of someone falling overboard. As we move away from the equator, it's getting cooler, and we're now in autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. We have intersected the Antarctic current.



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