Today in ‘What Total Assholes Who Should Be in Chains Are Up To’

We have the man who gutted and skullfucked the Tribune Company, not missing a meal:

They always land on their feet, don’t they?

Dennis FitzSimons, the former CEO of theTribune Company who walked out the door with $41 million after engineering the disastrous sale of the company toSam Zell, has just joined the board of directors ofMedia General.

The board seat was created just for him.

“‘Dennis
FitzSimons is a proven and innovative business leader who led a premier
media company through times of outstanding growth and tough
challenges,’ said Marshall N. Morton, Media General’s president and
chief executive officer, in a filing with the Securites and Exchange
Commission,” according to theTampa Bay Business Journal.
“‘His industry knowledge and experience with the changing media
landscape and the synergies of print, broadcast and online platforms
will bring a valuable perspective to the Media General board’s
deliberations’.”

So in case that $41 million wasn’t gonna last him:

“Outside directors to the Media General board receive an annual
retainer of $116,000 for all scheduled meetings as well as an
additional $1,750 for each unscheduled board meeting and each committee
meeting attended beyond the two included in the retainer, according to
SEC filings,”TBBJ reports.

The Internet just keeps sucking money away from newspapers. Why, I don’t know how print could ever possibly pay for itself. We should just give up and put everything on iPhones. Print is dead. Nobody reads anymore anyway. Twitter is the future.

Just to put this in perspective, the amount of money Dennis Fitzsimmons will make for going to meetings is more than I made as a reporter any three years I worked. Until there is a panel discussion on the best kind of feathers to cover these people with after they’ve been dunked in hot tar, I hereby exempt myself from attending any more smug bullshit sessions about how unwashed hippies online don’t have to pay for their kids’ college or something like Real American Grown-Ups.

Seriously, what is it going to take for us to talk about this truthfully? How many more people have to lose their jobs, how many more desperate places have to remain unwatched by any watchdogs, how much more of our national conversation — which is really all a good newspaper is, a city talking to itself — has to be silenced before we start seriously asking why profitable businesses are being deemed unprofitable and productive work is being flushed down the drain so that professional receptacles like Dennis Fitzsimmons can draw six figures for sitting around a conference table once a month. With an added bonus of four figures if he has to come in on a weekend or something.

Jesus tits.

A.

7 thoughts on “Today in ‘What Total Assholes Who Should Be in Chains Are Up To’

  1. whet moser says:

    Okay, future business plan:
    1. Offer to fuck people over and wreck businesses for half what FitzSimons got
    2. Take half that, live like a king, buy a plane and shit
    3. Take the other half and run a news organization for like a decade

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  2. pansypoo says:

    excess riches need to be taxed out of existence.

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  3. spocko says:

    You want to hurt rich people you take away their money.
    Let’s use our brilliant reporter skills on Dennis FitzSimons and cost him money. It would be great if we got to keep some of that money, but it also is a way to then have a conversation about why papers are hurting that has nothing to do with the Internet.
    This could be a nice project for a few laid off Trib reporters. Especially finance reporters.
    Dollars to donuts this guy has done something hinky with the money he got. Hire a professional to check out his taxes. Tell the IRS this info.
    Get journalist on his ass. Enlist someonelike David Cay Johnston who was fired from the Trib to read the financial statements and discover stuff that the SEC needs to know about.
    Media General is his safe landing place? Really? There is a whole big deal these days about boards of directors and their cronyism. I wonder if the other members of the board are happy with this? How about the major stock holder of Media General? Maybe it is an institution that doesn’t like a known incompentent helping to run Media General, maybe they want to push him off.
    You want to hurt rich people you take away their money. And it sounds to me he hurt a lot of people, karma might need a push start.
    From Athenae: David Cay Johnston writes: I never worked for the Trib and was never fired by any of the five daily and two weekly newspapers I worked for over the years 1966-2008.

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  4. Dan says:

    A, see here around the 12:00 mark for thedigital vampire discussion. Really good stuff. Eralier in the week one of the hosts referenced Jeff Zucker’sline that we are in the process of exchanging analog dollars for digital dimes. There will be less money going forward and that is what gives cover for the thieving of the Dennis FitzSimons of the world. Also, something I don’t think I’ve seen you mention but I’d like you to address: Newspaper people are not going to call out the greedy and incompetent ownership because that is probably a good way to get their superiors to conclude their services are no longer required. I assume they all are aware that by calling out the real culprits they may be writing themselves out of a job. Your thoughts on that?

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  5. Athenae says:

    Dan, what drives me nuts about the money discussion is not that I don’t believe there will be less of it going forward. It’s that nobody seems able to tell me if there will be enough of it to fund newsgathering operations. If the answer to that question is yes, then let’s get on with killing off badly managed companies run by dickheads like this guy who take what little money there is and run off to Barbados with it.
    And oh, yeah, there’s plenty of people still who think if they just stay very very quiet Daddy won’t hit them. I tend not to rag on them too much because a) they’ve already convinced themselves they’re worthless so adding to it is just rude and b) all the good reporters in the world still have less power than the Dennis FitzSimons so on average I’ll spend my rage where it counts.
    It’s the Newspaper Guild syndrome: We have to agree to these cuts because otherwise they’ll close the paper. Over and over again, for 20 years, the threat keeps working.
    A.

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  6. hoppy says:

    But, you see, the same awesome God that spends each and every day worrying about men’s zippers decided that Dennis is one of his chosen, who needs to get his share of the wealth, no matter what that does to anyone else. Praise God!

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  7. spocko says:

    Hey folks, I can’t edit my previous comment directly but I just want to make clear that when I said this above:

    Get journalist on his ass. Enlist someone like David Cay Johnston who was fired from the Trib to read the financial statements and discover stuff that the SEC needs to know about.

    It looks like I was saying David Cay Johnston was fired from the Trib. Badly written on my part. David Cay Johnston has never worked for the Trib therefore could never have been fired from the Trib. I meant that I was hoping someone with the SKILLS of a person like David Cay Johnston could dig into the FitzSimons finances, and the person who would be the most motivated would be a laid off Trib employee.
    I have it from David himself that he has never been fired from any paper. (I think that’s a pretty good source.)
    I made my comment because Johnston was able to cut through more financial BS than anyone I know, and I was hoping there was some laid off Trib reporter who could go after the Trib with the same intelligence that Johnston does with financial and tax issues. And as Athenae says over and over here, the problems in newspapers are related to finances, management, distribution and marketing, but people focus on the journalism instead of these other areas.
    I’m right now starting his book
    Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill) http://www.amazon.com/Free-Lunch-Wealthiest-Themselves-Government/dp/1591841917
    I’ve heard him talk about the book on the radio more than once and am a big fan.
    If someone wants to go after Dennis FitzSimons on the financial side, read Johnston’s book Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super-Rich–and Cheat Everybody Else. You can learn alot and might even give you an idea of areas that you can look for FitzSimons’ tax or financial shenanigans.
    I think that I’ll make “Free Lunch” and “Perfectly Legal” required reading at the Academy.

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