Saturday, April 08, 2006


Right-Wing Tabloid Columnist Tries Extortion On Major Democratic Patron

Looks like it's time for another conference on blogger ethics:

The New York Post is cooperating with a federal investigation into whether a longtime contributor for the Page Six gossip column — the avidly read daily log of wrongdoing, double-dealing and sexual indiscretions by celebrities both minor and major — tried to extort money from a California billionaire, according to a spokesman for the newspaper. Several people involved in the investigation said the reporter, Jared Paul Stern, had been captured on a video recording demanding a $100,000 payment and a monthly stipend of $10,000 from Ronald W. Burkle in return for keeping negative information about him out of the paper. Mr. Stern was suspended Thursday pending the outcome of the investigation, and could be dismissed, according to Howard Rubenstein, the spokesman.
Now, note that the NY Post is part of Rupert Murdoch's right-wing media empire. So isn't it interesting to find out that the guy Stern was attempting to roll is a longtime Democratic Party backer and friend of the Clintons -- as well as the white knight in the efforts to save the twelve orphaned papers of Knight-Ridder?
If all goes according to the newspaper union's plan, 12 newspapers that are for sale will eventually be owned by the workers themselves as part of a buyout effort by the Yucaipa Cos., a private equity firm. Yucaipa will bid Tuesday on the papers that McClatchy Co. said it would sell when it acquired 32 dailies from Knight Ridder Inc. earlier this month. If Yucaipa's bid succeeds, employees will be able to invest in the papers through their retirement savings plans. One management team would run the corporation established for the 12 papers. They would join an increasing number of workers in industries including airlines and steel who have taken an ownership interest in their workplaces. The number of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), grew from 10,670 in 1996 to 11,500 in 2005, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership. Two daily newspapers, in Omaha and Milwaukee, already are part-owned by ESOPs, which reduce federal income taxes for company owners. "It will start off 100 percent owned by Yucaipa and then more and more by employees," Newspaper Guild-CWA President Linda Foley, said of the proposed arrangement for the Knight Ridder papers. "We would like it to be majority-owned by employees, eventually 100 percent." [...] Yucaipa is a Los Angeles-based private equity investment firm run by billionaire Ronald W. Burkle. The company has built much of its wealth around buying grocery chains, including Jurgensen's, Falley's and Alpha Beta. Burkle is a major Democratic fundraiser.

America is not the world.
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