Struggling Lee Enterprises saves company with purchase of Indy

Lee Enterprises headquarters

As you may remember from late last week, scrappy media conglomerate Lee Enterprises has purchased the Missoula Independent, saving Lee from bankruptcy. Lee was already in bankruptcy back in 2011, because it spent $1.5 billion to buy Pulitzer, Inc. in 2005—a dark horse candidate for deal of the year, since News Corp. paid a mere $580 million for Myspace. Anywhom, Lee went broke buying newspapers. Now, like a fun and informative vampire, it must keep buying more newspapers to stay alive. But its waking nightmare of debt-service undeath is finally over, because it bought my newspaper.

The immense profits that the Indy generates will wipe out Lee’s debts in no time. After a few months of alt-weekly income, the Missoulian can stop writing rapturous features about Cabela’s, and the Beatrice, Nebraska Daily Sun can settle with the families of those kids from last year’s Thresher Days. We’ll all be rich—rich as newsmen!

By we, though, I mean everyone but me. Even a corporation as showered in gold as Lee Enterprises cannot justify my exorbitant fee. And don’t ask me to take a pay cut out of consideration for a mom-and-pop paper chain. My lifestyle simply could not bear it. Although nothing is certain now, I fear my days of making money hand-over-fist-over-emerald-strewn-coke-mirror might be headed to a halt. For all I know, this could be my last column. I excerpt here for posterity:

I know that when I got into this business, it was strictly for the cash. But over the last few years, I have developed an affection for you, the seemingly useless reader. Although writing this column provides me with enough money and drugs to deaden my connection to ordinary people, I cannot help but feel that we are in this together. We live in the same region, after all. Might it be too much to say that we belong to the same community?

I was too temperate to say so in print, but I’ll say it here: we do belong to the same community. That community belongs to Lee Enterprises now. May their two Missoula newspapers, the Missoulian and the Independent, remains as keen and incisive as the heads on a two-headed snake, and may that snake poop money for the rest of our wonderful lives.

Snoop shoots “clown resembling Donald Trump,” unleashes anarchy

Wednesday

In the annals of FoxNews.com headlines, “Snoop Dogg shoots clown resembling Donald Trump in new music video” is a low-key classic. You don’t hear about a lot of clowns that resemble Mahatma Gandhi, or clowns resembling the brave men and women who died in 9/11. And “resembling” is such a pleasingly circumspect word, in contrast with the absurdity of everything else in this headline. Now is a fun time to remember that Fox News shares a parent company with The New York Post, who seem not to have reported on this event but would probably have done it differently. Anyway, I want to emphasize that Snoop Dogg shot a clown resembling Donald Trump in a music video, not in real life. That makes it a symbolic act—a message, probably. This theory is supported by S.D. Dogg’s remarks to Billboard:

I feel like it’s a lot of people making cool records, having fun, partying, but nobody’s dealing with the real issue with this fucking clown as president and the shit that we dealing with out here. So I wanted to take time out to push pause on a party record and make one of these records for the time being.

Notice how he assures us he’s working on a party record, too. Snoop has been doing this for a long time. Also, he sucks now. Or does he? This clown video is actually pretty…okay, I’m not willing to say it’s good. But I’m glad I watched it. Video after the jump.

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Missoulian ends online comments, hopefully forever

The Missoulian offices as photographed by Cathrine Walters

The Missoulian newspaper website has disabled comments, depriving western Montana of its most reliable way to experience pure despair. Comments sections are bad. But the Missoulian comments were especially bad, combining the subliterate hatred of YouTube comments with the gravity of current events. And it always seemed to be getting worse. The paper turned off comments on obituaries a few years ago, after one became a public referendum on the character of the deceased, the circumstances of his death, and whether he had it coming. Last week, I am told, commenters on a crime story revealed the identity of a victim of sexual assault. That’s what prompted this editorial from Kathy Best, in which the new editor announces that comments on Facebook and Twitter will continue, but website comments are done indefinitely. I applaud this decision. It’s been a long time coming.

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Man who has never done this before knows better than everybody

The working man

Now that the White House has ejected the Times from its press conferences, I must turn to New York’s second best newspaper for coverage of our confident and dynamic president. What will that serial monogamer get up to next? It turns out he’s going to keep spreading factual inaccuracies on Twitter, but it all seems more fun and crazy now, because switching from the Times to the Post is like scoring a movie with the Benny Hill Theme instead of Clair de Lune. Here’s the President of the United States:

So this may shock you, but President Trump’s claim is factually inaccurate. Although the New York Times did recently release a prominent new advertisement, it’s not the first time. Anyone who watched Comedy Central in the nineties remembers this commercial:

I forgot how much I hated that guy with the suspenders, but as soon as I saw him it all came rushing back. He’s a Chris Parnell character 20 years too soon. Anyway, the Times advertises pretty often, and President Trump seems to be speaking without regard for the truth. His main point is that the Times is bad, due to a shortage of fairness and accuracy.

That is, of course, the slogan of another news organization. “Reebok sucks,” he might have tweeted. “Try just doing it!” Such command of the language might send the delicate hands of New York Times readers clutching toward their pearls, but in the Post it reads pretty sweet:

The president also singled out the the [New York Times] in a tweet about fake news on Friday, saying “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!,” he said.

His tweet came hours after Trump addressed a conservative conference where he wailed on the media about reporting fake news and the use of unnamed sources in stories.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Post is the newspaper for people who hate newspapers. I, for one, am heartened to read that the president has been wailing on the media, and it gives me hope that he might bring back jobs and convince chicks to loosen up. Anyway, I gotta go. I spent all day making money instead of writing Combat! blog, which I give away for free. Reader, it is worth every penny.

Who does President Trump follow on Twitter?

Donald Trump has over 24 million Twitter followers, but he only follows 41 accounts. Who are these people? When the president takes up his phone after a long day of re-greatening America, whose tweets does he see? The people Trump follows on Twitter fall into five categories:

Other Trumps

Like many 70-year-old users of social media, Trump organizes his Twitter experience around members of his own family. Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Trump—whose profile specifies that “my children are my life” and who does, indeed, seem to only tweet photos of them—Lara Trump (wife of Eric), and Tiffany Ariana Trump. All told, members of Trump’s immediately family and their spouses make up 18% of the people he follows.

Trump brands

Trump is not just a person; he’s a brand. The Trump names means luxury, hospitality, and entertainment, along with barely-coded racism and the increasing likelihood of nuclear war. But mostly it means golf. Trump follows the Twitter accounts of three of his own golf courses, including @TrumpGolfLA, @TrumpGolfDC, and the Trump National Doral course in Miami, as well as the Trump Golf umbrella brand. He also follows Trump hotels in Chicago, Waikiki and Las Vegas. Eighteen percent of the Twitter accounts Trump follows are his own brands—the exact same portion as members of his family, although that’s probably a coincidence. Still, more than a third of the content Trump sees on Twitter comes with “Trump” right in the name.

Coworkers

No man is an island—even a man as expansive as Trump. Besides his family and his brands, Trump also follows a number of people he works with: his assistant and White House director of social media Dan Scavino Jr., his chief of staff Reince Priebus, his former national campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and Vice President Mike Pence. Trump also follows a few people he has worked with in a non-political capacity, if anything he does can be said to fit that rubric. He follows Mark Burnett, Celebrity Apprentice producer and president of MGM Television and Digital Group. He follows Katrina Campins, from the first season of The Apprentice. He follows WWE CEO Vince McMahon, whom he defeated in a hair match at Wrestlemania XXIII. He also follows his personal attorney Michael Cohen, whom he has not publicly wrestled. Employees, coworkers, and people with whom Trump has had business dealings compose 24% of the people he follows.

Media figures

Trump is a famously steady consumer of television, and he follows several Fox News personalities: Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Geraldo Rivera, Eric Bolling, Laura Ingraham. He follows the accounts of Fox Nationwhose bio reads “join the community that believes in the American dream”—and Fox & Friends. He also follows some non-Fox personalities, including Greta Van Susteren, Mika Brzezinksi and Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe, Ann Coulter of Satan’s twitching anus, and Drudge Report. Together, this assembly of people who provide news to your divorced uncle make up 32% of Trump’s Twitter feed.

People who are not media figures, other Trumps, Trump brands, or coworkers

This may be the most interesting subcategory of accounts Trump follows, because they give us a tantalizing glimpse of his inner life. Unfortunately, that glimpse is like when you think you see a person in a dark room but it turns out someone hung up a suit. Trump follows the pro golfer Gary Player, who is probably real but sounds made up. He follows Diamond and Silk, who describe themselves in their bio as “President Trump’s biggest supporters,” “biological sisters” and “public figures.” He also follows Roma Downey, executive producer of The Bible and other Christian-themed entertainments. She seems like an interesting lead at first, being neither a Trump nor a Trump employee nor a conservative news personality. It almost suggests he has some interest beyond TV and himself, but further investigation reveals she is married to Apprentice producer Mark Burnett. Still, she is not technically Trump’s coworker, family member, or property. This group of people whom Trump sees neither on television nor at Thanksgiving dinner constitutes 8% of the accounts he follows.

That’s it—Trump’s Twitter feed in a nutshell. You can visualize it with this handy pie chart:

Spencer Griffin gave me the idea for this post. Do you have an idea you’d like to pitch to Combat! blog? First be friends with me for 15 years, and then email me. Don’t call.