How Appropriate

The McClatchy chain of newspapers is in bankruptcy. The chain includes such newspapers as the Sacremento Bee, the Miami Herald, and The State (Columbia, SC). Closer to me they own three of the ten largest newspapers in North Carolina including The Charlotte Observer and the News and Observer of Raleigh. While I can’t speak to the non-NC parts of McClatchy, their NC papers tend to be very anti-gun.

New Jersey-based Chatham Asset Management, a hedge fund, is their largest creditor and has won an auction to buy the chain. The auction results must be finalized by the bankruptcy court.

From the N&O:

“From the outset of this voluntary Chapter 11 filing, our aim was to permanently address both the company’s legacy debt and pension obligations and strengthen our balance sheet in order to provide greater certainty and stability to the wider group of our colleagues and stakeholders who benefit from a restructured McClatchy,” Craig Forman, president and CEO of McClatchy, said in a statement Sunday.

“We’re pleased that Chatham and the supportive secured first-lien creditors believe in our business and our mission and are helping to achieve these goals.”

When McClatchy, the nation’s second largest local news company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, its restructuring plan called for Chatham, which has been an investor since 2009, to emerge as owner. The company, whose stock had been publicly traded, would be under private ownership.

After the pandemic disrupted the economy in March, McClatchy added a second exit option, putting itself up for sale.

Chatham owns a couple of other newspaper & media companies: Canadian based Postmedia Network and American Media.

American Media was the parent company of the National Enquirer until April 2019 when it was forced to sell it by Chatham. It was erroneously reported by the News & Observer that they still owned it. Nonetheless, they retained such paragons of journalism as US Weekly, the Star, and inTouch.

As the conservative-leaning Carolina Partnership for Reform noted:

Just think… if you didn’t believe the news from these papers before, now you’ll have a reason to say why. And if you like scandal and sensation, you won’t have to go to the grocery store checkout aisle to get it.

When you consider it, the pairing of the News and Observer as a sister company to the American Media offerings is quite appropriate. While they are now piously progressive, as a student of North Carolina history, it is hard to forget their role in advancing white supremacy on behalf of the Democratic Party. Whether it was editorials attacking miscegenation or their scurrilous cartoons, the N&O (and the Charlotte Observer) was more sensational in its earlier days than even the tabloids are today.

As I said in the headline, how appropriate.


2 thoughts on “How Appropriate”

  1. It’s not like the tabloids are any different than the NYT. They might actually be more honest.

    I did note that the filing said something about addressing their pension obligations. Translation is that they are going to screw their employees. I would cheer except this may mean offloading the obligation to the PBGC.

    1. Exactly. They will put the PBGC on the hook for it. The only saving grace of that is that they higher ups who expected six figure pensions are now looking at a cap of $50K or so.

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