Hearst's Revenge
Posted by aogFriday, 02 February 2007 at 10:14 TrackBack Ping URL

Everyone has been writing about the NY Times $650M loss for the most recent quarter. At the same time, it seems to me that the bias and shoddiness of reporting at the NY Times is getting even worse. It is always fascinating to me how groups of people can get so locked in to a mindset that they cling to it even as it brings about their ruin. It’s the American auto industry all over again.

However, there are two side issues that one should keep in mind.

The first is that it is very difficult for a large corporation to create a change in the gestalt of the company staff. The staff has less at risk than the corporation because they can get other jobs. In fact, my observations indicate that the egos of most of the problem staff are so large that the idea of them being unemployable is not even conceivable. Even presuming the NY Times management realized the problem, what could they do to someone like Krugman or Dowd1?

The other is that this loss is actually the recognition of an earlier loss. The total write down was roughly $800M, but the NY Times only lost $650M, which means that the real profits for this quarter were about $150M. The $800M was spent years ago, not last quarter, so the impact on the actual running of the newspaper is minimal. Perhaps the management, given the issue in the previous paragraph, thinks that the best they can do is keep a much smaller but more loyal audience.

I think that strategy may fail, because the radicals are getting ever more radical and splintery. It may not be possible to find a large enough niche to support a newspaper the size of the NY Times where it’s not too biased for non-delusional left of center types yet isn’t called a shill for the Rethuglicans by the radicals.

1 Beyond locking them in to a restricted area of the NY Times website so that they don’t embarass the newpaper in front of non-believers.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Michael Herdegen Friday, 02 February 2007 at 12:17

It boggles me that the newspaper business is still large enough to generate $ 800 million losses. I would have thought that radio and television had knocked loose enough ad dollars that one could only lose tens of millions in the ink trade.

cjm Friday, 02 February 2007 at 13:43

the western elite has entered the “Etruscan” stage, where they wait for, and welcome, death. they are all played out, with nothing left to do or say. they made their lives so empty of purpose and meaning that it seems like they are already dead — and for all intents and purposes they are. it is imperative that a new elite start forming, based on merit, ala Cromwell. given the cosmic scale of their egos, the left imagines all life ending when they pass from this mortal coil. god speed their delivery to hell.

Robert Duquette Sunday, 04 February 2007 at 09:33

I hate to rain on the anti-left parade here, but the loss doesn’t appear to have any connection to the polularity of the NYT paper itself. The writedown was to cover losses at two New England papers that the company owned, the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram and Gazettte(for those of you not familiar with New England pronunciation, that’s the Woosta Telegram & Gazette.)

cjm Sunday, 04 February 2007 at 09:51

the ny times also has a well documented decline in readership.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 04 February 2007 at 10:32

Mr. Duquette;

That was the point of my fourth paragraph. And note that the writedown doesn’t cover actual losses at those newspapers, but only declines in their market value.

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