Biggest stories of 2008 — Obama wins presidency and Osama bin Laden is dead — FBI investigations of Gov. Richardson of New Mexico, Cleveland Democrats — Death Spiral of the New York Times and Chicago Sun Times

The No. 1 story for 2008 is the great campaign and election of Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the U.S. That is historic and the  obvious top story. But why isn’t there an investigation into the death of Osama bin Laden? That my friends is the biggest coverup since the JFK assassination. 

A story as big as Hitler shooting himself in his bunker, has been buried. In the one-party Democrat system, what is bad for the party will not be published. There is mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden is dead, in fact he was most likely blown to bits and covered in tons of rubble on Feb. 4, 2002. Special Forces have detailed reports on Osama’s cave complex which was destroyed on that date early in the war on terror.

FBI investigations of “pay for play” and political corruption in New Mexico, Chicago, Cleveland — all Democrat Party officials. Death threats and a very unusual death at Christmas of Democrat Rosemary Vinci. 

Very little coverage of the most widespread political corruption in perhaps 150 years. All the investigations began before the November elections. Yet, no interest from major media until after the election. Is that how a free press works in 2008?

If you live outside Ohio, I’ll wager you don’t know anything about this story:

Rosemary Vinci, the mysterious former strip club manager and close ally of Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Auditor Frank Russo, was found dead in her near West Side home Monday evening, said a spokesman for the county coroner.

Vinci was 50, was in good health, an autopsy to determine the cause of death is scheduled for Dec. 23 but had been put off. Police responded to Vinci’s home about 5 p.m. and found no signs of suspicious activity, a police spokesman said.

“We are very saddened by the recent passing of our employee, Rosemary Vinci,” said Destin Ramsey, a top Russo aide. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to all her friends and family, especially at this time, as we are sure she will be missed.”

Dimora and Russo are focuses of a federal corruption probe of county government. During a raid of Russo’s home and office, investigators sought pictures of Dimora and Vinci and documents related to Vinci, records show.

 

For years, Vinci managed the now-closed Tiffany’s, a high-end strip club on the west bank of the Flats. She recently pursued plans to open a social club at a property she owned in the Flats, but the project stalled because of zoning issues.

She had been active in the local Democratic Party, which Dimora leads.

Three months before the FBI raids, Vinci was at the center of a political storm when The Plain Dealer asked about her job on the county payroll. She made $48,000 a year, but officials gave varying accounts of who her boss was and what her duties were. Dimora ejected two reporters from a public meeting after refusing to answer questions about her.

Russo said Vinci worked for his office only, as a liaison to Cleveland City Hall. But several county employees, including one in the auditor’s office, told the newspaper at the time that Vinci also did work for the commissioners. Vinci said she worked for Russo and Dimora and spoke for both on behalf of the county to City Council members.

Back to Osama…

Osama, like all ego maniacs, couldn’t stay away from the camera or his followers. Reporting his death would not only make a hero out of the U.S. armed forces, but also President George W. Bush.

That was not going to happen in this day of the media/Democrat party alliance. It’s a double-edged sword. By hiding the fact that Osama was killed, the war effort continues to get full funding. That’s best, for there will be nothing left of al-Qaeda to speak of. 

Can you imagine the press keeping quiet about Hitler’s demise during WWII?

Special Forces and CIA specialist Billy Waugh has compelling evidence on the fate of Osama. Google him. 

Then ask yourself why you didn’t read this in the Washington Post, New York Times or San Francisco Chronicle.

That’s because it is hard to report on your own demise. 

by Michael Hirschorn

End Times
Virtually all the predictions about the death of old media have assumed a comfortingly long time frame for the end of print—the moment when, amid a panoply of flashing lights, press conferences, and elegiac reminiscences, the newspaper presses stop rolling and news goes entirely digital. Most of these scenarios assume a gradual crossing-over, almost like the migration of dunes, as behaviors change, paradigms shift, and the digital future heaves fully into view. The thinking goes that the existing brands—The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal—will be the ones making that transition, challenged but still dominant as sources of original reporting.

But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if TheNew York Times goes out of business—like, this May?

It’s certainly plausible. Earnings reports released by the New York Times Company in October indicate that drastic measures will have to be taken over the next five months or the paper will default on some $400million in debt. With more than $1billion in debt already on the books, only $46million in cash reserves as of October, and no clear way to tap into the capital markets (the company’s debt was recently reduced to junk status), the paper’s future doesn’t look good.

“As part of our analysis of our uses of cash, we are evaluating future financing arrangements,” the Times Company announced blandly in October, referring to the crunch it will face in May. “Based on the conversations we have had with lenders, we expect that we will be able to manage our debt and credit obligations as they mature.” This prompted Henry Blodget, whose Web site, Silicon Alley Insider, has offered the smartest ongoing analysis of the company’s travails, to write: “‘We expect that we will be able to manage’? Translation: There’s a possibility that we won’t be able to manage.”

The paper’s credit crisis comes against a backdrop of ongoing and accelerating drops in circulation, massive cutbacks in advertising revenue, and the worst economic climate in almost 80 years. As of December, its stock had fallen so far that the entire company could theoretically be had for about $1 billion. The former Times executive editor Abe Rosenthal often said he couldn’t imagine a world without The Times. Perhaps we should start.

Granted, the odds that The Times will cease to exist entirely come May are relatively slim. Many steps could be taken to prolong its existence. The Times Company has already slashed its dividend, a major source of income for the paper’s owners, the Sulzberger family, but one that starved the company at precisely the moment it needed significant investments in new media. The company could sell its share of the brilliant Renzo Piano–designed headquarters—which cost the company about $600million to build and was completed in 2007, years after the digital threat to The Times’ core business had become clear. (It’s already borrowing money against the building’s value.) It could sell The Boston Globe—or shutter it entirely, given what the company itself has acknowledged is a challenging time for the sale of media properties. It could sell its share in the Boston Red Sox, close or sell various smaller properties, or off-load About.com, the resolutely unglamorous Web purchase that has been virtually the only source of earnings growth in the Times Company’s portfolio. With these steps, or after them, would come mass staffing cuts, no matter that the executive editor, Bill Keller, promised otherwise.

It’s possible that a David Geffen, Michael Bloomberg, or Carlos Slim would purchase The Times as a trophy property and spare the company some of this pain. Even Rupert Murdoch, after overpaying wildly for The Wall Street Journal, seems to be tempted by the prospect of adding The Times to his portfolio. But the experiences of Sam Zell, who must be ruing the day he waded into the waking nightmare that is the now-bankrupt Tribune Company, would surely temper the enthusiasm of all but the most arrogant of plutocrats. (And as global economies tumble around them, the plutocrats aren’t as plutocratic as they used to be.) Alternatively, Google or Microsoft or even CBS could purchase The Times on the cheap, strip it for parts, and turn it into a content mill to goose its own page views.

Regardless of what happens over the next few months, The Times is destined for significant and traumatic change. At some point soon—sooner than most of us think—the print edition, and with it The Times as we know it, will no longer exist. And it will likely have plenty of company. In December, the Fitch Ratings service, which monitors the health of media companies, predicted a widespread newspaper die-off: “Fitch believes more newspapers and news­paper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010.”  — Michael Hirschorn

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The Chicago Tribune Co. files for bankruptcy and the New York Times looking to sell its new tower

The Tribune Company. filed for bankruptcy protection today, Dec. 8, 2008, as the owner of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Cubs and other properties tries to deal with $13 billion in debt.

On the same day, the New York Times Company is mortgaging its new glass tower and considering selling its only valuable asset to just stay afloat. But that’s not all, McClatchy is shopping around a buyer for the Miami Herald.

Advertising revenue declined severely this year because of the recession, putting pressure on newspaper companies. There are 31 or more major daily newspapers for sale.

Monday’s filing, made in bankruptcy court in Delaware, could give Tribune time to raise cash by selling off assets in a tight credit market. It also could put additional pressure on its lenders to ease their targets, possibly in exchange for higher interest rates, as many other newspaper companies already have done.

The company entered court protection with $13 billion in debt and $7.6 billion in assets.

Zell told employees in a memo that the Cubs franchise is not part of the bankruptcy filing. He also said the company’s operations, including newspapers and broadcast outlets, will function as before during the bankruptcy protection period.

“So, how did we get here? It has been, to say the least, the perfect storm,” Zell wrote. “A precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy have coupled with a credit crisis, making it extremely difficult to support our debt. All of our major advertising categories have been dramatically impacted.”

Tribune’s biggest unsecured creditors are its lenders, led by JPMorgan Chase Bank and Merrill Lynch Capital Corp. JPMorgan is the administrator of $8.57 billion in senior debt and holder of about $1.05 billion of that.

One has to ask what the Tribune executive editors were thinking when they bought the Times-Mirror properties just a few years ago. Then, Zell has to kick himself for thinking he was the smartest guy in the room to take the whole mess private. Most of its debt comes from the complex transaction in which the company was taken private, with employee ownership, by Zell last year.

The Washington Post and New York Times preach affirmative action for every other organization, but they don’t practice it

The New York Times is a daily promotional newsletter for the elite liberals and Democrat party. The  high paying positions are filled by family members and friends from the inner circle of the Democrat party.  A former speech writer for Bill Clinton rejected an Op-Ed letter from John McCain, while printing Obama’s letter in full the week before.

Take a look at the CEO, publisher and executive editor positions at the New York Times. It’s all in the family. And one of the biggest jokes on Wall Street, their stock is like the Democrat’s super delegates, the Sulzberger family has voting rights while all the other stockholders do not. That assures that Pinch Sulzberger stays highly paid as CEO and publisher of the crumbling empire. Pinchy gets to travel to Devos, Switzerland to discuss economic issues on the non-voting stock holders’ dime. (Devos is one of the most expensive resorts in the world).

Why isn’t the NYT practicing affirmative action? Appoint Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton as publisher or at least on the board of directors.  Practice what you preach, affirmative action where it counts.

“We are delighted that these two exceptional individuals have agreed to be nominees for election by our shareholders,” the company’s chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said in a press release sday announcing the news. “The skills, expertise and leadership qualities of these two nominees will greatly benefit our Company during this time of tremendous change in the media world.”
One new director,  Dawn Lepore, served as a director of Wal-Mart from 2001 to 2004. While Ms. Lepore was serving as a Wal-Mart director, along side Hillary Clinton, the Times was denouncing Wal-Mart for a series of supposed sins.  The other  director is from “Big Oil.” Google it if you don’t believe me.

 The Washington Post created a media group and a high paying job for family member Katharine Weymouth, part of the Graham family. Weymouth is the niece of CEO Donald Graham.

A new generation of the Graham family  is taking a lead role. Katharine Weymouth, niece of chairman and CEO Donald Graham, has been appointed CEO of Washington Post Media, a new unit that includes the paper and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. This should bring the business sides closer together, perhaps even integrating them, but the newsrooms will remain distinct.

She also becomes the fifth member of the Graham family to serve as publisher, returning the family to that post as she succeeds Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr.; he is now vice chairman of the company and chairman of the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO).

The Washington Post is actually getting some heat for its elite liberal act.

Washington Post Metro reporter Robert Pierre  said it’s “unconscionable” that the paper would devote a year and 12 chapters to the murder of a white woman — Chandra Levy — when around 200 people per year are murdered in DC — most of them black males. “I personally hope that people march on the paper and throw the papers back,” he says. “It is absolutely absurd and dare I say, racist, at its core.”

Major national poll finds 70% of U.S. believe newspaper journalists are out of touch with reality — Newspapers are now the last source of news at only 10%

Mick Gregory

Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe traditional journalism is out of touch, and nearly half are turning to the Internet to get their news, according to a new survey.

While most adults think all forms of journalism are important to the quality of life, 64 percent are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities, a “We Media/Zogby Interactive” online poll showed.

Nearly half of the 1,979 adults who took the survey said their primary source of news and information is the Internet, up from 40 percent just a year ago. Less than 1/3 watch television to get their news, while 11 percent listen to radio and 10 percent read newspapers.

Newspapers are now at the bottom of the heap. What is the NYT trading at today? Next…

The New York Times Co.’s continued struggles with declining advertising revenue, circutlation, unehtical yellow journalism smear tactics and the bling support for the old guard, the Clinton machine, prompted Standard and Poor’s to caution Friday that it is inching closer to cutting the company’s debt ratings. That is a rare and serious threat.

The office at Standard & Poor’s said it placed all of the New York Times’ ratings, including its key long-term corporate credit rating, on CreditWatch with negative implications. In plain English, that means the rating agency is leaning heavily toward a downgrade unless current financial trends at the company improve.

Why the drop? A dissident investor stepped up pressure on The New York Times Co. Friday, formally proposing its own slate of four directors and saying the company needs to take more drastic action to compete online.
Harbinger Capital, an investment firm that now owns about 19 percent of the company, filed its own proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission listing its nominees for directors to be elected at the Times’ annual meeting April 22.

The Times has already filed its own full slate of director nominees, but has said it was still considering whether to accept Harbinger’s candidates.

Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said the company’s board was interviewing the Harbinger nominees. She declined to comment further on their proxy filing.

The looming proxy battle comes as the Times and other U.S. newspapers are facing huge challenges in adapting to the steady migration of readers and advertising dollars to the Internet. An economic slowdown coupled with a deep slump in the housing market is worsening the situation.

Earlier Friday, the Times reported that its newspaper advertising fell 11.4 percent in January, with a 22.6 percent dropoff in classified advertising, a once cash cow business for newspapers that is vulnerable to competition from online rivals like Craigslist, eBay and Yahoo.

The New York Times is hedging its future. They are big investors in WordPress.com.

Newspapers Drop Circulation Again. Sunday Circulation Falls by Nearly 5 %

Mick Gregory

The New York Times circulation fell 4.5 percent.

Here is a lesson to reporters who keep carping on “high profit margins.” There is no growth in this industry. That’s why stockholders won’t buy into your obsolete business model.

The future is bleak. There is too much competition now. Your one horse town monopolies don’t mean anything anymore in the global economy.

Circulation fell at most U.S. newspapers in the six months to September, according to statistics released on Monday that for the first time include Internet readership in a bid by publishers to boost their attractiveness to advertisers.

Average daily paid circulation for newspapers printed Monday through Friday fell 2.6 percent and Sunday circulation fell 3.5 percent for the six-month period that ended September 30, 2007, compared with the year before, according to publishers’ statistics released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Most big city dailies reported that average daily paid print circulation fell. Dow Jones & Company Inc said daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal, including paid subscriptions to its Web site, dropped 1.5 percent, while The New York Times fell 4.5 percent.

Advertisers have considered print circulation key to determining where they spend their dollars, but publishers hope the Web numbers will provide a better picture of the true reach of newspapers. Editors never bothered to push for a level playing field by counting total readership as broadcast uses viewers.

“We generally agree that we can now truly gauge the impact of newspapers across the variety of media platforms that they truly represent,” said Dave Walker, chief executive of Newspaper Services of America, which buys ad space in papers.

Gannett Co Inc reported a 1 percent rise in daily paid circulation at USA Today, while the Philadelphia Inquirer said circulation rose 2.3 percent.

The Washington Post reported a 3.23 percent drop, while the Chicago Tribune fell 2.9 percent. Its parent company Tribune Co said circulation fell at Long Island, New York’s Newsday, but rose 0.5 percent at the Los Angeles Times.

The new data includes the number of people estimated to read a paper, not just how many papers were sold.

Many also are reporting usage of their Web sites, as well as a figure that tries to count print and Web site use without counting people twice who use both.

Alan Mutter, a former newspaper editor who writes a blog on newspaper and media issues called Reflections of a Newsosaur, said many newspaper Web site visitors to not remain long enough to make them worthwhile for advertisers.

“Who would work at a newspaper today, except liberal perverts… Why wouldn’t they be working as Web masters?”
–Michael Savage

Circulation fell at most U.S. newspapers in the six months leading up to September, according to statistics released on Monday from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). For the first time, the 19th century “official” verification company for newspapers includes Internet readership in last chance bid by publishers to boost their attractiveness to advertisers.

It’s always slow for the editor-centric newspaper business to catch on to common media practices let alone innovation. After all, most newspapers are run by former reporters who made their way up the ranks to management by making “scopes” and stabbing their coworkers in the back; not on actual business accomplishments or enterprise.

Sunday circulation fell nearly 5 percent.

The declines come as readers move online, but they also stem from publishers’ efforts to cut discounted copies from their subscription rolls, said a spokeswoman for the Newspaper Association of America.

Some papers, particularly in California and Florida, are dealing with the weak housing market, while others face their own regional trends, such as in Michigan where papers have cut jobs as they serve markets hurt by the slumping auto industry.
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After Fighting to Change Upper Tier Management at the New York Times, Major Investment Bank Morgan Stanley Sells Off $183 Million in Shares

Mick Gregory

The New York Times empire is crumbling. Look out for falling debris. Stock is at a 10-year low.

Now, it is the top headline on the Drudge Report.

Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest shareholder in New York Times Co., sold its entire 7.3 percent stake today, according to a citizen journalist who knew of the transaction, sending the stock to its lowest in more than 10 years.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act didn’t do anything for investor rights of New York Times stock.
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