Monday, September 14, 2015
Why the Gazette kept the Daily Mail
In 2004, the Chilton family, owners of the Charleston Gazette, borrowed $57 million to purchase the rival Charleston Daily Mail (aka Charley West, a cartoon figure in red, white and blue) from Dean Singleton and his Media News Group. At the request of Betty Chilton, his good friend, Singleton had made a straw purchase of the Daily Mail a few years earlier from Thomson Newspapers, a Canadian firm that was selling off its more than 100 newspapers.
In February 2005, the Chiltons informed the staff of the Daily Mail that it would close the newspaper on March 31, 2005. However, the Department of Justice intervened. Thus began a lengthy court battle that resulted in the Chilton family agreeing in 2010 not to close the Daily Mail unto July 19, 2015.
A funny thing happened on the way to July 19, 2015. The Gazette didn't close the Daily Mail. Instead it folded the papers into one -- keeping the Daily Mail editorial page.
That was a shock. The rabidly socialist Gazette family, which is the epitome of limousine liberalism, kept the Daily Mail editorial page -- a page its owners cannot stand to read -- after paying $57 million to get rid of it.
I mean, I can see keeping certain staff members. Over the years, many Daily Mail writers and editors were liberal. But the editorial page?
Over the weekend, it dawned on me why. The election. Since 2000, when the state went Republican in the presidential race, to 2014, when it elected its first Republican Legislature in 82 years, West Virginia has become conservative. The New Deal and Great Society policies advocated by the Gazette have reduced West Virginia to a state of great beauty and great poverty. The middle class migrated to Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and other Help Wanted states.
Hard to sell a newspaper -- a relic of the 19th and 20th centuries -- to people who cannot stand your editorial page.
And so Charley West lives.
Thanks to voters.
I am glad I was fired before this happened because I would have stayed and continued to work, which was very bad for my health. The last 10 years I worked at Charley West were a terrible burden. I did not realize it at the time. An early retirement -- forced or not -- is a blessing.
But that does not mean I am not quietly amused. The scowling cries of ignorance and racism hurled at readers by the Gazette's editorials are a rabid dog baying at the moon. I may not have gotten a gold watch, but I got piece of mind instead.
One more thing, never work for a liberal. They are mean. I would rather work for a skinflint conservative.
Come to think of it, never work for anyone.