February 27, 2013

Voice of OC
The Orange County Register banned “ads that challenge politicians by name” following complaints from local politicos, Adam Elmahrek reports. Anaheim city councilmembers Kris Murray and Gail Eastman were “infuriated” by ads local activist and blogger Jason Young placed in the paper, Elmahrek writes, “and according to multiple sources, the two made their feelings clear during a meet-and-greet session with Eric Spitz, who along with Aaron Kushner, purchased the newspaper last year.”

Kushner told Elmahrek the politicians’ dismay didn’t affect the paper’s policy, writing in an email:

“We don’t like negative political advertisements and believe that if we are doing our job, they should undergo a greater level of systematic scrutiny. We take our responsibilities to Orange County seriously so when we see opportunities to improve, we accept that responsibility and strive to do so,” Kushner wrote.

Young shares an email chain he says is with a Register ad rep who tells him “the last ad that ran created some heat” and that “I got an email just saying that political ads must be reviewed before they get released.” Young submitted the text of a proposed ad to the rep, who told him s/he had “submitted the copy that you sent me to management and I am very sorry but it was not approved.”

Kushner sent Elmahrek a copy of the paper’s ad policy, which says the paper “pays particularly close attention to advocacy or opinion-based advertisements that could be construed as negative or attacking an individual or specific organization.”

On Tuesday evening The Wall Street Journal’s Merissa Marr and Keach Hagey reported that Kushner was interested in buying Tribune Co.’s newspapers, for which the company is currently weighing bids.

“[W]e believe from our external diligence that each of their markets could potentially have enough of the elements of what we’re looking for to run our particular business model,” Kushner told the Journal. Kushner has also been mentioned as a potential suitor for The Boston Globe, which he has previously tried to buy; a spokesman for Kushner declined to comment last week when Poynter asked about that speculation.

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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