Friday, October 13, 2006

Conflict of Interest

On the Huffington Post:

Is the Times looking out for voters or its own bottom line? That's the question readers should ask if they tear out their newspapers' recommendations to bring to the polls.

The Tribune also owns television stations like KTLA. Prop 89's limit on ballot measure spending would cut significantly into the gravy train of political advertising KTLA is receiving from oil companies that have spent $52 million opposing Prop 87, a tax on oil producers to pay for alternate fuel development (also opposed by the LA Times), and from tobacco companies that have spent $55 million opposing Prop 86, a tobacco tax to fund health care. The main opposition weapon against Prop 87, in fact, is a television commercial airing editorials from newspapers like the Times weighing in against it The public is sick of this avalanche of political advertising and turning away from the polls because of it. Prop 89 may solve that problem, but the interests of Tribune company dictates editorials now, not journalists' less biased decision making. Control over the editorials at the LA Time rests with the publisher, not the news editors, after a recent restructuring.

I'm guessing the Tribune is wishing it could lay-off Huffington Post writers.