DDoS attacks of TNMDM websites; the NYT and Trump’s taxes; Gannett and tronc
Morning Brief: TNM sister website PoliMedia.press hit by hackers following stories regarding newspaper endorsements both for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump
This website, along with its sister site PoliMedia.press, were targets of several distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks this weekend. TNM was down for a few hours Saturday morning, while PoliMedia.press, which covers the intersection of politics and the media, was hit three times.
Although it is impossible to know the exact reasons the sites were targeted, the attacks did come after a series of articles appeared regarding newspaper endorsements, several of which were highly critical of the Republican nominee. PoliMedia has routinely received comment spam from Donald Trump supporters, though it must be admitted that because the site is still in a soft launch, and does not receive very much traffic, the comment spam is far less than other websites have to endure.
The New York Times broke a major story regarding Donald Trump’s taxes this weekend, following through on a promise made by executive editor Dean Baquet that he would risk jail time in order to publish Trump’s taxes. Baquet made his statement at a Harvard University forum in September, when both he and Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward confirmed that they thought the story would be important enough to risk jail time.
Some things you have to do. Dean is exactly right. This defines Donald Trump,” Woodward said at the time.
The Times defense would, of course, be First Amendment rights, but that might not prevent Trump and his lawyers from hailing the paper into court.
The Times story, written with the help of an anonymous leak of Trump three state tax documents, states that the candidate for the White House had declared a huge loss in 1995, one so large that it would allow him to not pay taxes for many years going forward.
“Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show,” the NYT story states.
Bylined on the story were David Barstow, Susanne Craig, Russ Buettner and Megan Twohey.
I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing@nytimes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2016
The above tweet was the only one posted by the frequent Twitter user, and unusual amount of restraint being shown from the candidate. On the other hand, Trump may see that it is not in his interest to bring even more attention to a story he might see as damaging.
Rumors of a possible Gannett-tronc deal are heating up again. Gannett has been trying to acquire the newspaper company, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, for months but have only managed to boost its target’s stock price, driving it up from just over $7 a share to $12, then up to as much as $17.12 a share.
Gannett’s CEO Bob Dickey is pursuing an industry consolidation strategy, betting that the best way for newspapers to succeed going forward will be for them to have tremendous reach and market coverage. Adding the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and other papers would dramatically grow Gannett’s market power, as well as add far more debt to its books.
But as New Media Investment Group has proven, acquire-bankrutpcy-acquire (ABA) is a strategy that the Feds appear to have no qualms about.
The timing makes sense for Gannett would want to conclude a deal by year’s end and incorporate the tronc newspapers into marketing plans for 2017. But, as I have argued before, the timing may not be perfect for tronc CEO Michael Ferro who, one guesses, would like to continue to wield control through the election.
Financial websites, and especially Politico, have been pounding on this story for months, but I’m putting my money (all two cents of it) on “no sale” – at least not yet. What would change my mind? A Q3 earnings report so bad that the company would prefer to talk about its sale than its performance during the next investor conference call.
I assumed, like many others, that today the results of the vote in Columbia would be back-of-the-newspaper news today. Voters went to the polls to approve the peace deal between the government and FARC, the rebel group which has been conducting a 52-year war.
Then the votes came in and the referendum was narrowly defeated, with 50.2 percent voting against it.
“The surprise surge by the “no” vote — nearly all major polls had indicated resounding approval — left the country in a dazed uncertainty not seen since Britain voted in June to leave the European Union,” the NYT reported today.
It was a shocking result. After such a long time, after so many dead, it was assumed that Columbians were eager to move on. Apparently not.
Both the government and FARC have vowed not to resume conflict, despite the vote, but where things go from here is uncertain. FARC had wanted to put down its arms and become a political party in exchange for a general amnesty for most FARC fighters, with others facing special tribunals where reduced sentences would be the norm.
But bitterness over the war, which included kidnappings, as well as killings, was apparently too deep for many to put aside for peace.