Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The MSM Is sinking Fast, and shareholders are Furious

From The Economist:

CIRCULATION is falling, morale is low and advertising revenues are down: in a word, the strategy pursued by the Tribune Company, owner of 11 daily newspapers across America, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and a couple of dozen television stations, has been “disastrous”. That, at least, is the adjective used by the Chandler family, former owners of the Los Angeles Times and holders of 12% of Tribune's shares, in a scathing 11-page letter delivered last week to the Tribune board.The reality is that readers, viewers and advertisers have found other attractions, notably the internet.

("notably the internet": can we say "bloggers" "found other attractions": can we say - fed up of reading news filled with left wing bias, filtered through a left wing prism to reflect a leftist agenda)

Take, for example, the Los Angeles Times, America's fourth-biggest newspaper. Its circulation has dropped by 5.4% in the past year and is now down to some 851,500—a huge decline from its peak of 1.2m in 1990. Or take advertising revenue. Though in the first quarter it was slightly up at the Chicago Tribune, it was down by 3% for the Los Angeles Times and by 6% for Newsday.

(To be fair: Under the Chandler family ownership, Newsday's circulation figures were fraudulently inflated and the LA Times suffered a decline )

And the Tribune Company is hardly the only media group with angry shareholders.

In April, Morgan Stanley and other disaffected investors, representing 28% of the shares in the New York Times Company, ostentatiously withheld their votes at the annual meeting, in protest at the falling share price of the paper under the control of the Ochs-Sulzberger family.

Similarly, activist investors in Knight Ridder, formerly America's second-biggest newspaper company, forced the firm to put itself up for sale late last year.

These monolithic media empires are like huge ships believed for decades, by their owners and shareholders, to be unsinkable. Today these ships are sinking fast and shareholders are furious.

Maybe someone at the helm should have thought about fixing those nasty continuous "leaks". After all,
like ships that continuously leak water, newspapers that continuously leak stories, eventually sink


The Family Feud Behind A Media Fight lends veracity to the claims that the MSM for the most part harbours a left wing agenda that is reflected in the types of stories they report, in the way they frame the stories, in what facts are included and/or omitted. These choices reflect the personal bias of the editor, it's writers, and ultimately, its owners, be they left or right.

It was time for The Times to return to its conservative roots, Chandler and his sister, Corinne Werdel, told Forbes magazine. "We have the inmates running the asylum," Werdel said. "They're so far out in left field."

The siblings were especially upset with the paper's coverage of gay rights and AIDS. "This is a mainstream paper, and the homosexual population is 1% to 1.5%," Jeffrey Chandler said. "When you start featuring these kinds of stories the way The Times does … my God, you've got a campaign going on here."


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