December 3, 2005


MoveOn Protests Cuts in Tribune Co. Newsrooms (James Rainey, December 3, 2005, LA Times) has launched a petition drive to protest job reductions at the Los Angeles Times and three other Tribune Co. newspapers ... [...]

The organization — known for its opposition to the war in Iraq and its support of liberal Democratic politicians — plans to expand its protests to encompass other newspapers, in an industry beset by layoffs.

Perhaps now the Left will stop pretending the media isn't biased in their favor?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 3, 2005 8:33 AM

Why not just get their patron Soros to subsidize the unions and keep the papers solvent so they don't have to depend on subscribers and advertisers.

Of course, there would be fewer and fewer people reading them anyway, but it's the perception that lefties care about, not reality.

Posted by: erp at December 3, 2005 9:44 AM

So as soon as a newspaper shows weakness, the MoveOn jackals attack. That Karl Rove is just diabolical.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at December 3, 2005 10:05 AM


You beat me to the suggestion. Of course, for the LA Times, they could hit up the Hollywood donors (Steve Bing) for probably $20 million a year, although that is probably not enough to stop the implosion.

Prof. Instapundit noted yesterday that one reason the economy get talked down so much today is that the media's portion is suffering (a point made on THIS blog quite a bit in the past several weeks). The 'old' media is hurting more than we hear about, and it must rankle them to no end to see the rest of the economy expanding nicely. It was very interesting to read the piece in The New Yorker a few weeks ago about the travails of John Carroll and the former NYT editor who tried to 'save' LA Times, but those corporate dunderheads in Chicago kept asking for more cuts.

The press must really hate having to work for the running dog capitalists who just don't understand how the world works.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 3, 2005 10:09 AM

It's nice to see these guys eating their own. Knowing how craven the Tribune Co. is, they will cave to, and thus get poorer even faster.

Posted by: Bruno at December 3, 2005 10:20 AM

the l.a. times should merge with GM and then they can save the cost of a funeral.

Posted by: sloan's toe at December 3, 2005 10:40 AM

If the LAT and GM merge, they could offer a free Pontiac Aztek with every paid subscription.

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 3, 2005 10:52 AM

or at least use Aztek's to deliver their tripe :)

Posted by: sloan's toe at December 3, 2005 11:47 AM


A few years ago, Virginia Postrel made the same point about the 2000/2001 recession, which by historical standards, was extremely mild, but impacted advertising harshly:

BREATHE, BREATHE: Those who didn't live through the past are doomed to panic when they see it repeated. If they're journalists, they'll try to panic everyone else too.

Journalists are freaking out at the bursting of the dot-com bubble--for perfectly understandable, but parochial, reasons. When high-tech companies were desperate for employees and flush with venture capital for marketing, advertising boomed. That meant lots of jobs for the writers who fill up the space between the ads. (This is over and above the demand for "content providers" on journalistic websites.) Now what Advertising Age magazine calls the "drunken-sailor atmosphere" has turned sober. The current shakeout is good news for high-tech companies with jobs to fill, but bad news for publications like the San Jose Mercury News that had come to depend on acres of help-wanted advertising. Ditto The Wall Street Journal, which enjoyed revenue from IPO-related "tombstones" as well as lots of business-oriented technology product ads.

As a result of the ad slowdown, a lot of journalists are reading scary memos from their bosses. And if they aren't, their friends are. The result: a lot of stories about how truly depressed the economy is.

Forget quick-response inventories. This is the feedback cycle Paul Krugman should be worrying about--downbeat journalists projecting their own industry's misery onto the entire economy. Recessions or shakeouts that hit media centers, as opposed to flyover land, tend to get exaggerated, all the more so if they actually hit media employees. That's one reason the short, mild downturn of the early '90s--but "the worst media recession since World War II," according to an analyst quoted by Howard Kurtz--was treated as a portent of permanent economic disaster. Journalists gave credulous coverage to doomsayers like Jeremy Rifkin, who was prophesying "the end of work" as the economy was well into the longest expansion in decades.

Journalists need to take a deep breath. While ad cuts and publication layoffs are genuine news, they're not the Great Depression. And we have been here before, in the mid-'80s. Back then, most personal computer companies disappeared in a massive shakeout that took down a lot of ad pages and some entrepreneurial publications. (Remember Venture magazine? I knew you didn't. But those of us who were at its surviving competitor, Inc., do.) If you don't believe me, listen to David Bunnell, a technology magazine veteran and current CEO of Upside Media. "We've seen the PC boom, the PC bust; the bio-tech boom, the bio-tech bust; the multimedia boom, the multimedia bust; and the Internet boom and the Internet bust," he told Ad Age. "It's the nature of technology." The only way to avoid the busts would be to never have the booms--a sure prescription for doom. [Posted 3/8.]

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at December 3, 2005 3:03 PM

Alterman chaps my @$$. Not only did he publish that wretched pack of lies, but he knew it as a lie.

Check this:

There are but a few weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Time has grown short. In an effort to galvanize the message Kerry wants to deliver in the time remaining, he convened a powerful roster of journalists and columnists in the New York City apartment of Al Franken last Thursday. The gathering could not properly be called a meeting or a luncheon. It was a trial. The journalists served as prosecuting attorneys, jury and judge. The crowd I joined in Frankens living room was comprised of:

Al Franken and his wife Franni;
Rick Hertzberg, senior editor for the New Yorker;
David Remnick, editor for the New Yorker;
Jim Kelly, managing editor for Time Magazine;
Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek;
Jeff Greenfield, senior correspondent and analyst for CNN;
Frank Rich, columnist for the New York Times;
Eric Alterman, author and columnist for MSNBC and the Nation;
Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist/author of Maus;
Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post;
Fred Kaplan, columnist for Slate;
Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate and author;
Jonathan Alter, senior editor and columnist for Newsweek;
Philip Gourevitch, columnist for the New Yorker;
Calvin Trillin, freelance writer and author;
Edward Jay Epstein, investigative reporter and author;
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who needs no introduction.

We sat in a circle around Kerry and grilled him for two long hours. In an age of retail politicians who avoid substance the way vampires avoid sunlight, in an age when the sitting President flounders like a gaffed fish whenever he must speak to reporters without a script, Kerrys decision to open himself to the slings and arrows of this group was bold and impressive. He was fresh from two remarkable speeches one lambasting the PATRIOT Act, another outlining his foreign policy ideals while eviscerating the Bush record and had his game face on. He needed it, because Eric Alterman lit into him immediately on the all-important issue of his vote for the Iraq War Resolution. The prosecution had begun.

"Senator," said Alterman, "I think you may be the most qualified candidate in the race, and perhaps also the one who best represents my own values. But there was one overriding issue facing this nation during the past four years, and Howard Dean was there when it counted, and you werent. A lot of people feel that moment entitles him to their vote, even if you have a more progressive record and would be a stronger candidate in November. How are you going to win back those people who you lost with your vote for this awful war?"


Kerry completed his answer by leaning in close to Alterman, eyes blazing, and said, Eric, if you truly believe that if I had been President, we would be at war in Iraq right now, then you shouldnt vote for me.


Alterman, for one, was sold. In his MSNBC blog report on the meeting, he wrote, "It was all on the record and yet, it was remarkably open, honest and unscripted. Lets be blunt. Kerry was terrific. Once again, he demonstrated a thoughtfulness, knowledge base and value system that gives him everything, in my not-so-humble-opinion, he could need to be not just a good, but a great president."


There you have it, not only are Alterman and his buddies liberals, they are DNC political consultants as well, but you knew that.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 3, 2005 5:22 PM

Maybe some of those reporters being laid off are MoveOn members?

Posted by: obc at December 3, 2005 6:17 PM