Wild times: Super Tuesday, migrant unrest; Trinity Mirror unveils premiere issue of new national tab ‘The New Day’
Morning Brief: Donald Trump says he’ll target the NYT and Washington Post if elected, introducing new libel laws to stop the paper’s ‘purposely negative and horrible and false articles’
Tomorrow is Super Tuesday in the US, the day that may confirm that America truly has gone insane. From the Oscars to the Donald, America (and especially journalists) love celebrities. So, this show must go on.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the migrant crisis is not going away. Today, there were riots along the Macedonian border with Greece.
“The conflict surged as the Greek government warned that as many as 50,000 people could be trapped in the country within a month, and as aid groups cautioned that a humanitarian crisis was growing,” the NYT reported this morning.
In France, the government sent in about 40 vans of riot police to begin tearing down the large refugee camp in Calais known as the “Jungle”.
“People were being told they had to leave, otherwise they would be arrested. A lot of people seemed quote confused. They were leaving with their sleeping bags, not sure where they would be going,” a spokeswoman the British group, Help Refugees, said.
— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) February 29, 2016
Trinity Mirror plc reported its full year results this morning. The newspaper publisher of the national UK tabloid The Daily Mirror and the Scottish Daily Record said it could report higher operating profits, despite lower overall revenue.
“I am pleased with the profit growth we delivered in 2015 despite the challenging print environment,” Simon Fox, Chief Executive, Trinity Mirror plc, said.
“Our significant efforts on improving our balance sheet over the past three years enabled the transformational acquisition of Local World. We are delighted to welcome the Local World team to Trinity Mirror and are making good progress with the integration of the two companies and finding opportunities to benefit from best practice. Whilst we expect print markets to remain difficult in 2016, the continued implementation of our strategy gives the Board confidence in our performance for the year ahead.”
Adjusted operating profit were up 3.9 percent, the company said, though statutory operating profit fell by £16.4 million, impacted by restructuring charges due to cost reduction measures.
It was cost cuts that drove better operating profits, not revenue. Total revenue fell 6.9 percent due to continuing declines in print advertising revenue. But digital revenue grew nearly 22 percent.
The company also today unveiled its new national tabloid, The New Day.
“This new newspaper has been developed through detailed consumer insight and aims to fill a gap in the market for a modern, optimistic and politically neutral week day read,” the company said today. “The title will utilize a very efficient operating model that leverages our editorial, advertising, printing and other infrastructure across the Group.”
The tabloid will hope to fill a gap in the publisher’s audience being created by declines in circulation at The Daily Mirror, which the company said today has experienced a 9.2 percent fall off.
The Donald went on a bit of a rampage this weekend (I know, what else is new), targeting The New York Times and The Washington Post for its negative coverage of his campaign, and promising to “open up libel laws” so he can go after them.
“I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible,” Trump said.
First, the NYT:
“The New York Times, which is losing a fortune, which is a failing newspaper, which probably won’t be around that much longer, but probably somebody will buy it as a trophy, keep it going for a little longer, I think The New York Times is one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Then, the Post:
“I have to tell you I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought The Washington Post to have political influence, and I got to tell you we have a different country than we used to have,” Trump said. “He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it.”
“That’s not right, and believe me, if I become president, oh do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems,” Trump continued before launching into his plan to alter libel laws.
“One of the things I’m gonna do, and this is only gonna make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m gonna do if I win… is I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws.”
Not surprisingly, the Post, which has very aggressively published anti-Trump opinion columns, responded with an editorial this weekend on Trump’s threats.
“His remarks about using government to attack companies and newspapers he doesn’t like, and to change libel law so that he can shut down criticism in the press, are genuinely un-American,” the Post said. “They reflect an attitude toward using government power to target opponents that would be entirely familiar to people who live in Vladimir Putin’s Russia or Chavista Venezuela. They have had no currency in Washington since the darkest, most paranoid days of Richard Nixon’s enemies list.”
The next day, Sunday, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions officially endorsed Trump for President. Maybe it was Trump’s decision not to criticize former KKK leader David Duke after Duke’s own endorsement of Trump that convinced Sen. Sessions that the Donald was his kind of guy.