December 29, 2015 Last Updated 8:20 am

Trump goes after New Hampshire newspaper after its publisher writes front page editorial

Morning Brief: NYT profiles, an independent site that may do $100 million in business this year, has a huge database, large readership, and may be an acquisition target for one of the big tech or media companies

The latest target for Donald Trump’s wrath is a newspaper, the New Hampshire Union-Leader, which in November endorsed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the upcoming GOP primary.

Trump was unhappy with a front page editorial written by the paper’s publisher, Joseph W. McQuaid.

Biff-400“Much of the news media are lavishly covering Trump, not just because he’s good for ratings, but because he’s good for Hillary Clinton,” claimed McQuaid. “They very much want Trump to be the Republican nominee so that Ms. Hillary can move back into the White House.”

“He reminds us of the grownup bully “Biff” in the “Back to the Future” movie series,” McQuaid concluded. “Lo and behold, the screenwriter says that he based Biff on Trump. On Feb. 9, we trust New Hampshire Republicans will send “Biff Trump” back to somewhere — anywhere but on the road to the most important elective office in the United States at a most crucial time for this nation.”

Trump was having none of it, calling McQuaid “Christie’s lap dog.”

“You have a very dishonest newspaper, it’s also a failing newspaper,” Trump told a New Hampshire campaign gathering on Monday. He then went on to describe the publisher as a ‘loser’.

“I watch this guy, and honestly, he’s a loser,” said Trump.

The Union-Leader, like other New Hampshire papers, has unusual influence every four years because of New Hampshire being the first primary, this year’s taking place on February 9.

The generally accepted wisdom is that because New Hampshire is a small state, and the candidates spend so much time there, the voters get the best chance to evaluate the candidates before voting. But the state’s winners are certainly not always the eventual nominee. In 1996 Pat Buchanan won the GOP vote, and in 2000 it was Senator John McCain – neither got the nomination. In 2008, then Senator Hillary Clinton beat then Senator Barack Obama, though Obama eventually got the Democratic nomination.

While Trump is starting to fall behind Senator Ted Cruz in Iowa, which holds its caucuses one week before the New Hampshire primary, Trump is leading most polls comfortably in New Hampshire – something that no doubt bothers the publishers of the Union-Leader.

Just how important is a newspaper endorsement now-a-days? Probably not very. The Union-Leader, which has a daily circulation of 35,831 according to its latest audit, has seen its circulation fall by a third in the last decade. (Before 2005, the paper was known as the Manchester Union-Leader, but changed its name as it attempted to expand its circulation statewide. Instead, the paper has seen its readership fall.)

Said one reader in the comments to the editorial, “Mr. McQuaid – you are the exact reason why Trump is so popular. I am so, so, so, sick of you elites in the media and members of the Republican Machine telling us what is best for us. Yet you fail us again and again. When’s the last you recommended a winner?”

The New York Times today profiled one of my favorite websites, The feature, written by Ben Sisario, profiles the site’s owner, Kevin Lewandowski, who says that he has no interest in selling the website.

But the story says that Discogs is on pace to “to do nearly $100 million in business by the end of the year, said Chad Dahlstrom, its chief operating officer.”

We’ll see how long its owner is will to hold out should Apple or Google come calling.

fitbit-iPhone6-3402015 was supposed to be the year of the Apple watch. But it looks like it was, instead, the year of the Fitbit. The company’s shares soared yesterday after its apps proved to be the most popular during Christmas week, indicative of the fact that many gift givers gave Fitbit devices this year. (I know, I gifted one, too.)

But Fitbit shares have actually had a rough year, nearly hitting $52 a share in August, then losing half its value by Thanksgiving. Yesterday the stock closed at $29.86, though premarket trading has Fitbit above $30 today.

Apple’s own numbers should be interesting. My own experience was that their stores here in Chicago seemed rather subdued compared to other holiday seasons. But the day after Christmas, the store I often frequent seemed busy as usual.

But… with that long table of Apple Watches taking up so much space, and getting so little attention from consumers, one wonders just how well sales really will measure up. Apple, which compared to Amazon, is very transparent regarding sales, has not been willing to be as specific about the Apple Watch. The smartwatch does not have its own sales category right now, with its sales thrown in “Other Products” which now also includes the iPod, Apple TV and Beats products, making it impossible to really see how well the product is doing.

Fitbit sold 5.28 million devices in the fourth quarter of last year, with most people expecting it to do far better this year. Apple said in November that it had “shipped” 7 million Apple Watches since its launch and certainly expects the holiday season to be the time when it sells the most units. Apple will report its Q1 2016 sales, which includes the 2015 holiday shopping season, in late January.

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