Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Cartoonist Horsey Rips Zell in Word and Drawing

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Cartoonist Horsey Rips Zell in Word and Drawing

Article excerpt

David Horsey, the longtime political cartoonist with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, today knocks new Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell in a multi-panel cartoon -- and blog post -- at the paper's site. His cartoons are syndicated by Tribune Media Services.

Zell continues to make news with blunt, sometimes profane, comments to staffers about their work and news values, and has been suggesting further cuts to come.

The cartoon, which comments on Zell's recent statements, ends with what it calls the new owner's most desired front-page headline: ORANGE COUNTY PUPPIES ARE THE CUTEST, along with an ad for a strip club below.

It can be found here.

Here is an except from the blog post by Horsey, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.*

Who is Sam Zell and why should you care? The answer to the second part of that question is easy: the health of our nation depends on an informed electorate and an informed electorate depends on an unfettered news media willing to tell people more than what they want to hear.

The answer to the first part of that question is that Sam Zell is the most vulgar embodiment of a pervasive bean counter mentality that is threatening the best of American journalism.

At the end of 2007, Zell concluded a sweet deal to take over the Chicago-based Tribune Company -- sweet, because he did it with a small amount of his own money. He leveraged the deal by borrowing billions of dollars from the Tribune employees retirement funds (how this is legal, I cannot fathom). Now he is master of a media conglomerate that reaches 80 percent of Americans through 23 televisions stations and 11 daily newspapers.

What does Zell know about journalism? No more than any other billionaire real estate mogul. But that hasn't stopped him from telling off journalists at some of the country's best newspapers -- the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Hartford Courant, the Baltimore Sun and, finest of all, the Los Angeles Times. …

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