by Whet Moser
The local media community is abuzz about the NYT piece on the Tribune Company. Shocking! Must-read! I guess, but its value is more gathering what's already known (aside from a handful of seamy new accusations) and laying it out as an indictment. Anyone who's been following the saga will be unsurprised to learn that:
* The deal was a mess, and the bankruptcy is a clusterfuck
* Randy Michaels has long been dogged by allegations of boorish behavior
* Lee Abrams writes weird memos
* The new leadership has a penchant for unfunny PR releases
* The relationship between Zell, Blago, and the Wrigley deal is strange but still really opaque
* That whole thing about anchorless news, the less said the better
* The executive bonuses are really infuriating
* The poker game , which was admittedly déclassé but strikes me as being pretty minor in the grand scheme of things
* The advertorial-style wraps piss people off
Etc. Steve Rhodes has a lot more, including some thoughtful stuff about one of my favorite topics, snitching and its role in self-defined communities.
The one part that did surprise me, though I suppose it should have been obvious:
The creditors, which also include JPMorgan Chase and the Deutsche Bank Trust Company, have acquiesced to the lucrative bonuses in part because they fear that antagonizing management could further hold up the company’s emergence from bankruptcy, according to two lawyers representing creditors who did not want to be quoted publicly during bankruptcy negotiations.
Granted, it's from anonymous sources with a lot of skin in the game, but it's at least plausible.
Anyway, yeah, do read it, but it's worth keeping in mind that a lot of reporters (including ones at the Tribune) working less sexy beats have done yeoman's work in piecing together the outline of the whole mess. As I put it to a peer, Carr definitely deserves a half-sack for finishing off the play, but you can't forget the pass rush as a whole.