Henry Waxman asks Tribune CEO to reconsider newspaper spinoff

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman has sent a letter to Tribune Co. CEO Peter Liguori saying interviews with experts “raised serious concerns about the future of the Los Angeles Times” should the company go ahead with its plan to spin off its newspaper division.

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds is among the experts Waxman consulted.

Waxman is concerned about Tribune Co.’s plans to saddle the newspapers with debt and keep their real estate, but he also says the company’s plan to consolidate some newsgathering functions “raises concerns about the ability of the papers to continue putting resources into local coverage.” The plans, he says, “will place the long-term viability of the Los Angeles Times and other Tribune papers at risk.”

In a statement to Poynter, Los Angeles Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein said that, “From our ongoing discussions, Congressman Waxman should by now be fully aware that the structure of the spin-off of Tribune Publishing is based on sound financial principles and a deep commitment to providing Tribune’s newspapers with a strong, long-term future.” He continues:

The assertions of the academics consulted by the Congressman provide no new insight and in many cases are simply wrong. As publisher of the Los Angeles Times for the last six years and soon-to-be Chairman of the Board of Tribune Publishing, I am extremely confident that the plan put forth by Tribune Company is sound, reasonable and will help protect and build a strong future for the Los Angeles Times and Tribune’s other newspapers for years to come.

Waxman has raised concerns about the plan before. He plans to retire this year.

Here’s the letter:

Letter to Tribune Co. CEO from Henry Waxman by Andrew Beaujon

Related: Buzz off, Waxman — Congress can’t tell a newspaper how to do business (Reuters)

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  • Jester40

    Waxman’s (lack of) financial acumen is well known. How many projects has he spearheaded with public funding that over promised, under performed and came in way over budget? How many times has he fought any kind of financial accountability for programs he favors? And, when his favored projects are unsuccessful, how many has he shut down, rather than continue to waste government funds? We all know the answers. Having his (Waxman’s) input is worthless. I am surprised this is considered newsworthy.

  • MarVista509

    This is such an obvious attempt to protect a source of propaganda asset of the democratic Party to remain intact, regardless of the diminishing readership. I canceled several years ago, it is a total rag, utterly biased, 100% staffed by unhinged, demented lefties. It is so creepy to loo at the headlines, the bias is oozing from every single headline. No story escapes the Pravda treatment. Creepy Waxman, is worried that a change of management-more balanced and less demented editorial group could remove the faithful and loyal bent towards whitewashing every incident of questionable ethics associated with a Party that one of its leaders was running guns while preaching for gun control, at least 3 other senior players are currently waiting for trial for various crimes against their communities, so is it a good idea for the party to lose their key instruments of disinformation?
    What would life be like if the party woke up one morning unable to deceive us?