Randian Success Stories

(h/t RMP’s Daily News Blast)

To anyone with a passing acquaintance with the bankrupt Tribune Company that came from reading its newspapers, it would seem counterintuitive that the charlatans responsible for the current crummy simulacra of those once-respectable, if not great, papers that now land with barely a sound on long-suffering porches from coast to coast would be getting bonuses this year, if ever.  The organ with which I’m most familiar (well, the other organ…), the Los Angeles Times, has, under the Tribune Company’s “stewardship,” gone from being the Paper of Record of the West into being a shoddy, disreputable advertiser whose current claim to fame, aside from selling its editorial content to advertisers, stems from having “discovered” Jonah Goldberg. ( That’s something the Pulitzer Committee is sure to notice….)

Beside the fact that ordinary people tend to think of bankruptcy as a time of suffering and humbling austerity, the Tribune Company is, remember, in bankruptcy for a reason; they shat all over their product and now no one wants to buy it.  But like all worthless, unaccountable monopolies, they have a lot of hungry executive mouths to feed, and unlike their many creditors, (not to mention their cheated employees and customers…) the big boys will be fed.  Lots.

By Michael Oneal | Tribune Co. plans to pay 35 of its top executives $14.9 million in additional 2009 bonuses, a court filing revealed late Monday, despite pointed opposition to the proposal from several key constituents in its 17-month-old Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

The company describes the bonuses, devised as two plans, as rewards for steering the company through bankruptcy court while generating total operating cash flow of $494 million in 2009.

Ah, that “reward” must be like the “retention bonuses” of which Wall Street is so fond, except for the niggling fact that it comes from a dying industry with no jobs available, and goes to people who disgraced their company, financially and strategically, and will continue to do so.

The payments would supplement $42.1 million in management incentive bonuses the court allowed Tribune Co. to pay in February to approximately 670 managers, including most of the executives included in the most senior group.

See, it turns out that the $14 million is really more like $60 million, (since February, that is…) which is money being directly stolen from creditors, readers, and employees, for the feat of having ripped off the same three stakeholders so successfully.  Just like the bank bonuses, and just like all the rest of them. it’s  money for nothing, and perks for free.  Naturally, Tribune resorted to a “government” bankruptcy court to expensively bless all this theft, since thanks to the magic of the “market,” corporate thieves cash in while less well-dressed criminals serve hard time.  Innocence is, as the Free Market would dictate, most typically determined by the price of one’s lawyer’s suit. (see Simpson, O.J.)

The Tribune Company’s outrageous cashing in on utter failure merely lands atop the massive pile of other fraudulent, freeloading enterprises gone Galt like BP, Massey Energy, Goldman Sachs, Enron, Blackwater, Halliburton, and on and on.  Not a one would last a day in the Free Market without the tender mercies of their supposedly overbearing sugar daddies, the American Taxpayer, and it’s our job to just pay up, because a lot of influential folks with a lot of money decided that this would be so.  We must Look Forward once again, but with lighter wallets, something we seem to be getting used to by now.

Please, bring back the welfare queens… at least they weren’t so expensive.


  1. dirigo says:

    One of my best friends works in television news in Houston, for Tribune.

    I’m fearful this may be an end of the line of sorts for him.

    He’s been the weekend anchor in this newsroom for a couple of years, after being let go from a full-time anchor slot at another station in the city. Let’s just say he was replaced by another individual who, according to management there, better reflected the demographic and racial make-up of the station’s audience. It had little to do with news, editorial judgment, or ratings.

    As for the part-time gig for Tribune, he’s told me recently the company let go a twentysomething woman who was the news director. She ran the place for about two years as well. During her tenure, according to my friend, she drove the newscast’s ratings into the ditch, with, he says, an emphasis on “lifestyle” news: light, fluffy, and bland. Kind of like angel food cake.

    My friend, who has been a news director himself, at several fairly serious operations in Texas and Pennslvania, has applied for the open position at the Tribune shop.

    But he tells me that there’s been no news about a possible replacement for the former news director, and he thinks it’ll just be a matter of time when there’ll be an in-house, corporate appointment, and then staff cuts.

    My friend is fearful that, even though he’s one of the most qualified broadcast reporters in the place, the new guy won’t like the size of my friend’s contract.

    And so, not only is it possible Tribune management will ignore a well qualified news director candidate in the shop where there’s a vacancy; it is also possible my friend’s current contract could become just so much fat to be cut from the bankrupt Tribune company.

    And that’s the way it is …

    • cocktailhag says:

      Yes, the blind hiring the blond, and the gray get the boot. At least on TV the beauty contest part is legitimate. (Take that, Jonah…) Quality-wise, the trend is always in the same direction.

      • dirigo says:

        Yeah, well even as I tout my friend’s straight news bona fides, he did slum a bit back in the early ’90s when he became an anchor for Entertainment Tonight.

        He had a good time in La La Land and made some good money, and he enjoys telling me about how he interviewed Lucille Ball and Don Rickles.

        He said Mary Hart’s legs are as good as people say they are, adding that he struggled here and there to keep his eyes on the prompter when Mary was on the set. He soldiered on, as it were, but that’s another story …

        • cocktailhag says:

          Ah, journalistic values once again scrapped on the altar of the Weinie Imperative. I’m told, and I believe, that the few men who watch FOX that aren’t in the Depends demographic tune in for just that reason. (Ape voice) Legs, cleavages: good; liberals: bad. Murdoch’s got a fine thing going, albeit a little old.

          • dirigo says:

            Like John “The Maverick” McCain, who picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, based largely on her headshot.

  2. nailheadtom says:

    ” But like all worthless, unaccountable monopolies. . . .”

    Of course, you wouldn’t consider the Daily News or Orange County Register to be newspapers, would you?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Why not? Admittedly, neither have suffered as much under leveraged buyouts, at least until recently, as the poor Tribune Properties, and the OC Register certainly had no reputation to lose in the first place. Maybe you’re going somewhere with this that I don’t grasp, but more likely you’re just going all Bill O’Reilly on me.

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