Clark Hoyt, public editor (ombudsman) of the New York Times, writes about that newspaper's own coverage of the business problems facing the paper. There is an acknowledgement of the fact that there is indeed trouble, that the paper has not covered it as fully as it might because of internal sensitivities, and a comparison drawn to the Bancroft family, which controls Dow-Jones, parent of the Wall Street Journal.
All well and good. But there are two key elements of the story which are missing:
- No acknowledgement is given to the paper's sharp turn to the left under fourth generation family member Arthur Ochs "Pinch" Sulzberger, Jr. His ongoing destruction of the paper's brand image as a fair and complete "newspaper of record" is undermining the foundations of the family fortune. One can reasonably argue about the degree of bias he has injected, but I don't think anyone can dispute that many critics have faulted the paper for politicizing its editorial product.
- No acknowledgement is made of the numerous business blunders of Pinch. His ill-fated venture into cable television, where he managed to prove that the Times name in a cable network was essentially value-less. His huge investment in a New Jersey printing facility that is now in the process of being shuttered. The paper's ignominious fall to number three in New York City circulation. The extremely rich purchase price for About.com, which has so far failed to return the profit growth necessary to justify such a waste of resources. Instead, the problems cited are all generic to the industry.
Well, at least it is a start. There will be ample opportunity for more such columns as the SS Timestanic sails through the ideological ice floes, under the command of Captain Pinch.
Hat tip: Rick Richman