Just hours after Chicago’s Tribune Publishing won a bankruptcy auction to acquire the serially bankrupt Orange County Register, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block the deal on antitrust grounds.
Instead, the newspaper will likely be sold to the second-highest bidder, Digital First Media, the Register reports. Attorneys for the Register‘s owner, Freedom Communications, asked the bankruptcy court on Saturday to accept that bid, which will formally be considered Monday.
After a two-day bankruptcy court auction, Tribune Publishing announced on March 17 that it submitted a $56 million cash to prevail over Digital First Media, publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News and Long Beach-Press-Telegram, and a management bid to buy Freedom Communications.
Government lawyers complain that the acquisition would give Tribune control of 98 percent of English-language local daily newspaper sales in Orange and Riverside Counties.
Apparently, the government lawyers don’t know that people don’t really need to get their news from these sources anymore. If they did, Trump’s numbers wouldn’t be freaking out the GOP brass.
Despite widespread talk of a shift to digital, newspaper circulation revenues are actually up in the last five years, as publishers have chosen much higher prices, accepting some audience attrition. Profitability for circulation operations has also increased even more, thanks to less churn and a narrower delivery footprint, according to Alliance for Audited Media. More.
Reality check: In short, newspapers are marketing to a shrinking elite and abandoning the broad public to the internet. That helps us understand why, so often, they simply don’t sound as though they are writing for most people. See, for example, Progressive Outrage Machine Targets Ottawa Pro-Life Group (no one but the Progressive Outrage Machine is likely interested, apart from the pro life group, and it is the Outrage Machine that the dying mainstream media market to.)
So long as we are not paying taxes to save the dinosaurs and the internet remains free, let’s just let stuff keep happening like it does.
See also: Is there a future for serious journalism – except at panel discussions?
Our American Friend: UK Guardian on secret plan to stop Donald Trump