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I'm a Conservative Troglodyte who puts more emphasis on common sense rather than political parties.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Come on Hugh...Don't feed the Zoo Monkeys

Hugh Hewitt brought light on an experiment of the Los Angeles Times called “Outside the Tent,” which debuted with a piece by Mickey Kaus entitled “Gossip Would Do L.A. and the Times Good.”

Outside the Tent” is said to be "An experimental column in which the Los Angeles Times invites outside critics to take their best shot at Southern California's heaviest newspaper."
I tend to think that it is an obvious attempt by the LA Times to improve their failing circulation figures without having to compromise their basic misguided leftist principles. By compartmentalizing the critiques to a guest writer status they have the ability to hold onto their Liberal base of steady subscribers and pass out the implied philosophy of “consider the source” to those who might not agree. Even the name of the feature (Outside the Tent) makes this apparent.

Hugh has agreed to contribute to this venture in a couple weeks. Patterico has, also. Personally, I don’t think they should. Why feed the monkeys anything other than their usual diet?

In my opinion, let’s let capitalism and the free market teach the LA Times about their future. They are receiving a remedial course at the present. According to Editor & Publisher, they have, steadily, been taking a shellacking in the purse. Just last quarter, The Tribune Company (parent company to the LA Times) announced that daily circulation for the six-month period ending September 2004 stood at 902,164 and that Sunday circ was 1,292,274, or roughly "a range of" 6% drop. The Tribune reported daily circulation of 591,504 and a Sunday circ of 963,926, or a 2.5% and 4% decline, respectively. Jack Fuller, President of the Publishing Division for the parent company received an early retirement, arguably, based on those figures. The LA Times continues to pour their ideology out in mass without significant consideration for content. Until they address their content discretion head on, their circulation will continue to drop. A half hearted feature experiment without real ownership such as “Outside the Tent” is derisory. Let them flounder Hugh…let them ignore the gangrene in the arm while setting the finger.

This is not an isolated occurrence. Leftist leaning media outlets across the country are taking a thumping. It’s the same old story. The liberal bias stems from the superiority complex held by leftist journalists who think they know better. They continue to refuse to recognize the values and ideology of their subscribers as a valid. They are out to teach and convince. As they continue down this fateful path the CNN’s get slapped by the Fox News’. The Salons get kneecapped by the National Review Onlines’. The columnists and stable writers of just about every major media outlet have their lunches handed to them by the vast array of Blogs in what is becoming a usual occurrence. The effectiveness of alternative news sources can only remain effectual if they hold the status of “alternative.” They will, only, become mainstream if there is no kowtowing in arbitrary gimmick contributory exercises like “Outside the Tent.”

Don’t feed the monkeys Hugh. Let them starve. Let them watch you from behind the bars while you tear at the "read meat."

Many of the largest media publications are presently being taught an arduous lesson by the Security & Exchange Commission. The conventional wisdom behind the SEC investigation of the “Times Co.; The Washington Post Co.; Gannett Co., publishers of USA Today and 100 other papers; Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal and Barron's; and Knight Ridder, publisher of the Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer and 29 other papers,” is that they have been inflating their circulation figures so that they can bump up the advertisement revenue. Obviously, these entities have not grasped the concept that it is integrity and content that sells papers. They are still trying to grade the rest of the class rather than just presenting their own “book report.” They are going to learn an expensive lesson as a result. Even if they slide beyond this massive investigation, they will not have solved their revenue short fall, and the future decline of subscribers. Blogs and major media, like or not, hold a symbiotic relationship. The only way to take the wind out of the growing sails of the blogs is to present content that provides less of a critique opportunity and more of a supporting emphasis. Simply put, folks like saying “you suck” more than they enjoy saying “nice job.” It’s more interesting and more complimentary to a blogger’s worth.

Interestingly, the major media is even in denial in reference to bloggers. Instead of considering their own content, they are flirting with an effort to discredit their critics while contemplating the possibilities of regulating opinion. You know there will be attempts to muzzle the computer “town criers.” I would expect attempts at legislation when the atmosphere presents itself.

Cathy Seipp filed a good piece in National Review (Times Never Changes The Los Angeles Times, still biased) back in April of 2004 that pointed out that the installation of John Carroll to Editor-in-Chief of the LA Times did move the overall content a little more towards the center. However, she was able to point out a significant number of examples of their failure to line up with the populace. They continued their efforts to teach and indoctrinate rather than report and describe. It’s an impious balance that they are racing. The balance is not ideology. Rather, it is time. They are reaching a crossroads where content is intersecting with subscriber totals (relating to advertising rates). The acquisition of Carroll was, merely, a speed bump in their failed fiscal destiny. The same is true with “Outside the Tent.” In my opinion, Conservatives should not contribute to slowing down their negative financial trends. Instead, we should let them rot in their own squalor and force their board of directors to consider a format change much like the standard formality of the radio industry. Let them continue with their “elevator music,” while the public goes looking for “R & B. “

Hugh, I’ll go buy another copy of your book if you congenially decline to assist the LA Times in improving their circulation. I’ll buy two more books if you tell them to stuff it. Perhaps I’m not a stellar example of promoting tact. However, I’m usually pretty effective at sorting through the crap. Trust me Hugh, there’s no diamond hidden down there…just fool’s gold. They want Patterico, and folks like you to help slow down the leak. Go write something for their biggest competitor (fiscally and ideologically) and assist with the deluge instead.

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