The Price of A FREE Press

BobLee
June22/ 2008

Our earlier report on the death gurgle of “newspapers” has an up-date ….. The Return of The Water-testing Three poses a BIG Problem for ORW …. Moochies on the ropes in Omaha …. Floods in Iowa …. NASCAR redefines “really stoopid” …. And a bizness with darn few “good guys” loses one.

Ten years ago I would have said, regardless of their exaggerated arrogance and putrid pomposity, I do not intend to give up my morning newspaper.  I eventually did.  Five years ago I would have said, despite their exaggerated arrogance and putrid pomposity, I can’t imagine an America without “newspapers”.  A high % of that America now exists just fine.  Today I say Good Riddance to the arrogant and pompous nabobs.

I’m not condemning “the 4th estate”.  I absolutely appreciate the need for watchdogs over the even more arrogant and pompous politicians.  The Nixons, Clintons, Blacks (and now Chris Dodd and his fellow crooks) need to be watched very closely.

The McClatchy Corp is one of a half-dozen conglomerates that own the majority of American newspapers.  The McClatcheys are “moguls”   Not unlike “oil moguls”, “tobacco moguls”, “pharmaceutical moguls” and all the other VERY wealthy “moguls” that the arrogant nabobs they employ so love to denigrate with their ink.  “Making money” is a sin to McClatchy op/ed dweebs unless the moneymakers are named McClatchy apparently.

NOTE:  McClatchy execs make even more $$$$ than Bob Greczyn.  Bob is the local head guy for Blue Cross & Blue Shield and a regular target of the N&O’s war against anyone not named McClatchy who makes money.

There has always been a battle at the coffee machines in newspapers.  A chicken v egg debate between writers and advertising sales people.  Who is “most important” to the paper’s success.  The columnists and reporters tend to have rather exaggerated opinions of their value….. DUH!  The ad sales guys meanwhile have in most cases for many years merely “taken orders” from merchants needing to buy print advertising and usually having to deal with a local monopoly newspaper. ….. The last merchant to “get a deal” from an N&O sales guy was selling buggy whips back in 1904.  Then along came THE INTERNET.

Cut to the chase ….. far fewer folks bother to read newspapers these days.  They either get their “news” from other sources or, thanks to public education, are functionally illiterate, and unable to read a newspaper even if they wanted to.  Considering that “the local paper” is usually a champion of throwing more tax dollars down the rathole of public education …. I do love the irony.

Your local newspaper, operating generally as A MONOPOLY, generated WINDFALL PROFITS for exorbitantly wealthy MOGULS ….. until those golden geese started dying in the past five years …… WINDFALL PROFITS FOR WEALTHY MOGULS.  Say it ain’t so!

On a related issue “your local paper” is usually a strong advocate of any tax increase in keeping with their ideological bent.  It is exorbitant taxes that are at the root of “the death of local newspapers”.

Remember when your local paper was owned by “the ____ Family” who had owned it for X generations and enjoyed, and prospered from, the stranglehold they held on the local economy.  If you wanted to reach your neighbors with your ad message you paid whatever exorbitant rates that “the ____ Family” wanted to charge you.  In Raleigh it was “the Daniels”.  In Louisville it was “the Binghams”.  Fill in your town.

For as much as you resented (often despised) their arrogance, you did know they had to endure whatever socio-cultural maladies existed in your town.  They lived, played, shopped and pretended to worship in the same places you did. ….. then along came exorbitant ESTATE TAXES.

The 3rd generation could no longer simply turn over the keys to the $$$$ printing machine to the 4th generation.  Across America “the ____ Families” were forced to sell the goose and all her future golden eggs to carpetbagging conglomerates like McClatchy and Gannett and Knight-Ridder and Scripps.

These mercenaries brought in smooth-talking, blow-dried nomadic “publishers”.  Bought them memberships on the local country club, and told all the loyal employees how much they “needed them” translated “at least for a few months”.

For all their gluttonous avarice, “the ____ Family” employed folks for LIFE and even allowed them an extra hour for lunch to attend a spouse or parents funeral (with a signed note from the mortician of course).  The faceless conglomerate with the nomadic publisher was less charitable.

“The ____ Family” truly cared about the local economy.  The faceless conglomerate truly cares about the moguls’ in absentia stock value.

Given choices with The Internet, those previously imprisoned local merchants began choosing less arrogant advertising outlets.  The accountants at Conglomerate World HQ began making significantly smaller daily deposits in the moguls’ private vaults.  Meanwhile the local nabobs whistled past the graveyard that America could never exist without “them” by golly.  10% of “them” got axed in Raleigh this week ( a total of 70).  Many more “thems” were axed at other McClatchy offices by their respective blow-dried nomadic publishers.

From sea to shining sea …. Ink-stained wretches are boxing up their personal effects and turning in their ID badges.  Oh, and remember that chicken-egg debate?  The majority of the “sorry Charlies” are in the reporter/writer category since “THEY DON’T GENERATE $$$$”.  Alas …. The truth do hurt.  When push comes to shove those who contribute to revenue generation tend to survive …. Those who simply generate bilious opinions reflecting their pompous arrogance are easily discarded.   Buy’em for what they actually are worth ….. Sell’em for what they THINK they are worth.

John Edwards’ standing offer to Rob Christensen to be the lawn jockey at his Orange County manse is looking better and better …. eh Robbie?

The Raleigh News & Observer and their sister The Charlotte Observer will, in effect, be merging now.  The Rallotte Observer will basically print the same shell of day-old news with local ad inserts.  Not exactly the way William Randolph Herst or Horace Greeley envisioned it way back when but “the chickens do indeed come home to roost” as Uncle Jeremiah would say.

There are a handful of folks at The N&O I truly respect.  I hope they are spared.  There are some folks at The N&O I have zero respect for.  Screw them!

***

While the average Tar Heel board monkey was trying to turn backflips over the Return of The Water Testing Three, methinks ORW already sees some dark clouds ahead.  ORW is now smack dab in a totally unwinnable position.  It is now a “certainty” (in board monkey world) that ORW will cut down the nets next April.  Every goggle-eyed board monkey is now certain that their shallow useless existence will have one vicarious “bright shining moment” next April.  Whoa unto ORW if he fails to deliver.  Heck, woe unto ORW if he doesn’t go undefeated with an average victory margin exceeding the 38 point Celtic whomping of the Lakers last night.

I’m predicting here in June ’08 that the upcoming ’08-’09 UNC BB season will be THE most unpleasant coaching experience of ORW’s career.

The Water Testing Three will be out to showcase their individual skills for the league ….. Li’l Abner will still be the straw that stirs the Tar Heel drink and #50 will still be The Darling of the fawning fans as he chases career records.  Team chemistry will be as unstable as nitroglycerine in a hurricane.

The Return of The Water Testing Three plus the incoming blue-chippers also means no room on the far end of the bench for the traditional “three goofy kids with decent GPAs who are living their dream”.

Couple these realities with ORW’s ever-increasing tendency to be wound tighter than a watch spring and there is a recipe for KABOOM abrewin’ in The Legends’ Lair twixt now and Dance Time next March.

***

Meanwhile over in Kenan, one of BCS Butch’s future blue chippers done been arrested for selling narcotics.  Unlike past coaches, BCS Butch doesn’t talk about recruiting “character”.  He’s called BCS Butch, not Boy Scout Butch …. For a reason.  BCS Butch gets paid those big bucks for Ws …. not for merit badges.

***

Out in Omaha, The Moochies got bit by a Bulldog on Tuesday night.  Now they’ve got to tame a tiger again or risk returning to an angry lynch mob of fair-weather fans DEMANDING a Nat Champ.  I shall not be among such an angry mob.  Mike & The Moochies are WINNERS far beyond any scoreboard.  Go Mocchies Go!

***

Several years ago NASCAR hired a black woman as their token “see, we do too hire black wimmen”.  Her name was not Jackee Robinson but it might as well have been.  She was hired as some sort of technician to measure spoiler heights or some such silliness.  Her name was Mauricia …. Or as her co-workers referred to her “nappy-headed Mo”.  Uh oh.

“Mo” quit a year ago but is now suing NASCAR for $250,000,000 for assorted “they called me racist names and stuff like that.”  Maybe Mo planned on this happening from Day One.  Maybe Mo did not know a spoiler from a chittlin’.  Maybe Mo was dumber than a post turtle.  It doesn’t matter.  NASCAR redefined STOOPID to ever let anything close to this happen.  Mo should have been placed in a soundproof, touchproof bubble wearing a t-shirt saying “DON’T EVEN THINK IT …. OR I’LL SUE”.

This is NASCAR’s worse nightmare come true.  The Justice Brothers (Al & Jesse) don’t even need to jump into this one.  It’s too easy.

***

Tim Russert died.  I never met him but I have friends who did.  He was one of the VERY FEW “good ones”.  His ego never outgrew his blue-collar upbringing nor did he adopt the faux-aristocratic arrogance of his contemporaries.  With Tim’s passing the credibility of the mainstream media officially dips lower than TV ratings for a golf tournament without Tiger.

NBC is considering who will replace Tim on Meet The Press …. It’s down to Katie Couric wearing crotchless panties or Keith Oberman shouting F-bombs.  Somewhere Edward R. Murrow weeps.

***

Another rhetorical how come ??  Mother Nature unleashed her fury again.  This time causing horrendous flooding in Iowa.  The same bumbling bureacratics from FEMA still can’t get unstuck from their red tape, et al ……. BUT the citizens of Cedar Rapids and other devastated towns are not raping, pillaging and crapping in the streets like their “fellow Americans” did in New Orleans.  How come folks in Iowa react differently than their “fellow Americans” in “the 9th ward”?   How come the mainstream media reacts differently?  How come that Mr Messiah Obama.  How come that?

***

I can’t let this column end without this infamous quote from N&O Daniels’ Family Mogul (also richer than Bob Greczyn!) Frank Daniels Jr:

If we admitted all our mistakes, it might affect our credibility.”

Boston came within one impossible pass / catch of winning all three major team sports championships in the same year.  That’s pretty cool.

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BobLee

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