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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Newspapers and Manhattan are screwed

Gradually it is dawning on people that the big losers in COVID-19 are fracking, airlines, hotels, restaurants, newspapers, and New York City. The first three are resilient because they have weathered many a business cycle but he latter three are devastated.

One industry in peril that does not get mentioned is the automotive industry, particularly those who service vehicles.

Automobiles are sturdier and last longer. My car is 10 years old and I see no reason for it not to go another 10 years, especially as I have averaged less than 10,000 miles annually in the last 6 years.

Projecting my experience on those working from home, I see fewer oil changes, fewer tire purchases, and fewer automobile repairs.

I also see fewer car companies. The American market is stagnated.

COVID-19 hastens the newspaper industry's demise. Local ads are all they have left and most local businesses are closed. The local newspaper's free shoppers was reduced to one piece of paper. There was a page one and flip it over it was page two. Four press releases a recipe, crossword puzzle, Soduku, and three tiny ads. The inserts may have covered the cost of mailing.

There are plenty of stories about this because the media loves bemoaning its problems.

Not being mentioned is the return of New York City to the 1970s. I have written about this, as well as the COVID-19 collapse of newspapers. Instead of linking those posts, let me re-post them here, starting with New York City, whose reduction will actually harm the country..




The New York Times sent intrepid reporter David Gelles into deepest, darkest New England to report on the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on Bristol, New Hampshire, a town of 3,300 people.

Gelles wrote of its Freudenberg factory, "which employs 350 people and makes bonded piston seals and other components for carmakers around the world, has an outsize impact on Bristol’s economy."

The plant is shuttered temporarily.

If the Times wants a story on a town so devastated by COVID-19 that it is unlikely to recover in 10 years, it should send David Gelles to New York City. Manhattan is a ghost town.



The streets are empty in a city of 8 million. This is not their fault. Yes, they could have acted sooner but this punishment does not fit the mistake.

In Bristol, Gelles wrote, "On April 3, the bad news started to spread around town. Freudenberg announced it was firing more than 100 people, shutting down its manufacturing of bonded piston seals and looking for additional buyouts. With car sales around the world essentially halted, automakers were suspending operations, and suppliers like Freudenberg were suddenly without revenue to pay workers in places like Bristol."

Tourism is its backup plan.

Well, you can see how good that is now. West Virginians feel their pain. Our chemical factories, steel mills, and aluminum plants were devastated by first Japan, then NAFTA, and now Red China.

The New York Times, however, supported all this and supports the shutdown because it believes another depression will wipe out capitalism in America. The Times overlooks the fact that it is a capitalist operation. No ads, no Times.

Let us look at New York.

The financial center of America is now the epicenter of COVID-19 of America. Wall Street is now telecommuting. Is there any reason to stop once the all-clear signal sounds?

The trillions of dollars invested in stocks and bonds can be bought and sold online. Why bother having a presence in Manhattan where the rents are high? Brokers are still needed, but they can relocate to less congested places that are less susceptible to Chinese viruses.

Other corporate headquarters also will re-locate. Why would a CEO risk his health to live there? The Times story on Bristol, New Hampshire, did not say whether anyone in the town had COVID-19. I suspect no one does. The story said many people have their second homes there. They may wish to make them their primary homes. 

Then there is Times Square and tourism. Visit New York City? Are you crazy? Why would anyone from Twin Oaks, Ohio, want to risk getting the next COVID-19 there?

This is not 9/11 where everyone rallied behind New York. Rudy Giuliani is not the mayor now, some communist named de Blasio is. New York was a victim in 2001. Now many Americans blame New York City for this shutdown.

Then there is real estate. Most residents are renters. Decades of rent control have led to a crazy quilt of uneven rents and subleases. A three-month rent holiday devastates not only landlords but people who are renting out their apartments. This is just the beginning of the woes of landlords as people flee. No money, no maintenance, and more people will leave.

Restaurants will feel the pain. People in New York have learned to cook. While the New York Times sent a reporter to Bristol, New Hampshire, the Los Angeles Times sent Stephen Battaglio to Manhattan.

Melissa Fleischut, president and chief executive of the New York State Restaurant Association, told the paper, "I think people were afraid after 9-11, but they weren’t afraid to go out and eat. As long as the pandemic continues to go on, I think the prospects for the majority of restaurants to come out on the other side is slimming. I think it is an altering event — a moment of change for the industry for sure."

Her job is to cheerlead her industry. She can't.

The Los Angeles Times noted, "Nearly half of restaurants in New York are closed even with the provision that they can serve food and alcoholic beverages for takeout and delivery."

I doubt they will re-open.

The demise of fine restaurants will affect the elitists. Do you really think a stuffed shirt like John Podhoretz will take his kids to McDonald's. Oh, they will keep their condos. There is no market for them anyway. But they will spend their money in Palm Beach, Palm Springs, and wherever else rich folks go.

The rest of the service industry also will suffer. Fewer offices means fewer maintenance crews. It also means fewer packages sent by FedEx and the like. The people who make the city run face layoffs.

Tax revenues will fall. City services will falter.

Manhattan will be like it was in the 1970s again, only there is no young Donald John Trump on the horizon to reverse the fleeing, and there is no Rudy Giuliani to fight the crime.

This is tragic. 8 million people will suffer for a far longer time than most people realize. If you think I get any joy out of this, you are wrong. I have seen economic devastation in West Virginia, and yes, it catches up with the local paper.

The New York Times is wrong. COVID-19 will not kill small-town America. Bristol will come back. Car factories will re-open. They will need Freudenberg parts.

No, COVID-19 is killing the biggest town in America.

The New York Times fancies itself as a world newspaper, but it is still a New York newspaper. Its local ads help pay the bills. The paper's managers should get their noses out of the air and realize that the biggest crisis is not the president they dislike but that their city is about to suffer an economic collapse that has not been seen by an American city since at least the depression and perhaps the civil war.

New York needs leadership. The Times could provide it. Instead of trying to save the world, it should try to save its city and itself.

***

Then there is the story unfolding of newspapers folding.



Mini Mike's Bloomberg News service is losing customers who won't survive COVID-19. Bloomberg reported, "Long-Struggling Local Newspapers Pushed to Brink by Corona Virus." Sir William Osler, the father of modern medicine, called pneumonia the "friend of the aged" because in the 19th century it took so many suffering people who could not be saved home to The Lord. COVID-19 is the friend of the ink-stained wretches of the Fourth Estate.

I am saddened, having spent four decades plying the trade.

But newspaper executives had a quarter-century head start on transitioning to the Internet. Thomson Newspapers, a chain of more than 100 newspapers, got out of the business more than two decades ago. Purchasers of those papers thought they knew better and paid top dollar for them. Fools.

In Charleston, the morning newspaper bought the afternoon paper with the intent of closing it and being the only newspaper in town. 13 years later, the owners lost everything in bankruptcy court. Buyer beware.

This is however Trumpenfreude in that 243 daily newspapers endorsed Hillary and only 20 endorsed President Donald John Trump. I get that newspapers are entitled to their opinions. That is my business, after all. I point this out because by 12 times as many newspapers endorsing her over him, newspapers showed how out of touch they are with we the people.

He won, remember? It was advice not taken.

As with all Trumpenfreude, the president has nothing to do with the downfall. Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti's greed got the better of him, which led to his conviction for tax evasion, extortion, fraud, and embezzlement.

Bloomberg reported, "Local papers are slashing staff and publishing less frequently as the already-battered businesses try to weather the COVID-19 storm. Many either won’t survive or will have to drastically reduce their operations."

The ads are going, going, gone.

Dean Ridings, chief executive officer of America’s Newspapers, a national trade association, told Bloomberg News, "I’m hearing 40% to 60% drops in revenue over the last 30 days. The advertisers are the local mom and pops, the retailers, the restaurants, who are understandably canceling their advertisements."

Ads keep popping up on cable TV, local TV, and of course, the Internet. Radio likely is suffering as so many people no longer are in their cars traveling to and from work.

Zero Hedge said, "Traditional print media was already on the ropes long before the crisis, in competition with exploding alternative forms of digital news and independent platforms, but the corona virus pandemic and accompanying shutdown of the economy could prove the final death blow."

Newspaper efforts to go online has largely been dinosaurs trying to do ballet. Paywalls? Really? They want people to rent their cows when milk is free? Old bad habits die hard.

The industry says newspapers are irreplaceable. If true, they would not be dying. Well, they had a good run.

But it is sad, especially for those 20 newspapers that broke away from the herd and endorsed Donald Trump. If you wish to support them online, the list is here.

43 comments:

  1. Can you expand on this: "...starting with New York City, whose reduction will actually harm the country."

    Recognized, appreciated, and agreed most of the content you listed/ re-listed. However, I did not read anything that helped me to understand your statement. You might have to dumb it down for me (sorry abut that).

    Keep up the good work DS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just think we need New York. Been around since 1664.

      Delete
    2. That helps, agree, thank you.

      Keep up the good work DS.

      Delete
    3. We need New York-but New York Needs Trump. Kaiser Wilhelm (De Blasio's real name ) has to go...
      Upstate and Western New York are as red as WVA and E Oregon.
      but they are not even on the radar of anyone west of the Hudson..

      Delete
    4. Do we need Detroit? It used to be the industrial heart of America. It's nothing but a burden now. And the country is fine, 'cept for the carrying cost of Detroit's carcass. We would be better off if they closed Detroit. Maybe same with NY city.

      J in StL

      Delete
    5. Great piece! Silly NY politics and the NY Times punched themselves in the face. Agree the rest of the country especially small towns will thrive again. Wisdom of the common man will prevail.

      Delete
    6. Why did is Detroit dying? Yeah, Democrat policies and rule, but many Republicans told us shipping jobs to low wage Mexico and high wage Canada was a good thing.

      Delete
    7. DeBlasio will be term limited outta here by the end of next year.
      NB

      Delete
    8. But New Yorkers are so stupid they will elect another liberal. - GOC

      Delete
    9. Slaughterer-of-Innocent-Groundhogs DeBlasio maybe WON'T be term-limited out.

      After all, Mini-Mike had that rule changed so HE could run for a third term...

      Just sayin'...

      Delete
    10. At a time when we need to rebuild our own supply chains, at a time when Ford & GM are making ventilators and just about every automotive supplier is trying to make PPE (despite FDA obstacles) you ask why we need Detroit? Southeastern Michigan is still the center of the global automotive industry. Besides the many suppliers in the region, there are still a number of large car and truck assembly plants in the area.

      "Do we need Detroit? It used to be the industrial heart of America. It's nothing but a burden now. And the country is fine, 'cept for the carrying cost of Detroit's carcass. We would be better off if they closed Detroit. Maybe same with NY city.

      J in StL"

      Delete
  2. At least here in this southerly area, the local churches still have enough to buy display ads in our local weekly. May even be enough to keep the paper alive. The paper did go from three times a week, to twice a week, to once a week though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. New York has been setting the stage for its destruction for a long time - rent control, taxes upon taxes, outrageous pay for public employees, etc. A correction is in order. At least this is happening under Comrade Wilhelm. May the reputation of all leftists be permanently stained.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100% agree.

      Keep up the good work DS.

      Delete
    2. Legend has it that Manhattan was bought from the Indians for $24 worth of trinkets.

      I reckon it's still worth that much, but I don't want to buy it at any price, even if you threw in the rest of NYC with the deal! (Cleaning it would be a nightmare!)

      Delete
  4. Don, that is quite the prescient urban obituary.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "That is my business, after all. I point this out because by 12 times as many newspapers endorsing her over him, newspapers showed how out of touch they are with we the people."

    If you squint just the right way you can pretend that more people voted for him. The people wanted the other candidate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quantity vs Quality.

      Quality Won.

      Quantity lost.

      Mass Majority does not rule, since Constitutional Republic defines the Rules.

      Each Sovereign State, 50 in quantity total, voted and determined Quality Prevailed and the lesser quantity of Sovereign States, to whom Quality did not matter, only quantity of greedy grifting opportunities, failed.

      If you squint just left enough, you can see your prostate from inside your colon.





      Delete
    2. Who brought up "the people"? The people wanted the other candidate. By 3 million.

      Delete
    3. And yet, you stupid hypocritical dishonest chinese troll, she still is not POTUS. So your stupid point is just that: STUPID. Like you.

      Go join your leftist cultists and shed more tears over it again, so you quit wasting space dumping your diarrhea posts here you idiot. No one here wants a perpetual whiner like around.

      FLOlson

      Delete
    4. There are 3,141 counties in the United States.

      Trump won 3,084 of them.
      Clinton won 57.

      There are 62 counties in New York State.

      Trump won 46 of them.
      Clinton won 16.

      I would call that quantity and quality.

      Delete
    5. Counties contain differrent quanties of voters.

      Thus, are outside the parameters of claims of greater quantity of individual votes cast.

      Sovereign Statesin Constitutional Republic, define rules for national elections.

      Counties within each Sovereign State, and of each Sovereign State, conform to State rules relevant and not in conflict with nation Constitutional Republic rules.

      To compare individual Sovereign State county populations, get total per county, add all and you will have accurate result for each Sovereign State.

      Nationwide total of counties is not same as population totals.

      Seems pretty obvious.

      So why not go the full distance on this and finish your caculations?



      Delete
    6. well the problem in Hillary like Algore before her is incredibly stupid an arrargint. yes I spelt it that way on purpose. since she wasted her money campaigning in the wrong states and didnt campaigne rhymes with champaign in states she needed to win. she LOST. stupid fail. if she would have taken Bill's advice she would have won. Poor non sentient gutter snipe. Gore could have won but he cherry picked only three counties instead of the whole state which didn't allow the DemoKKKrat party enough opportunity to manufacture enough votes for Gore to win. IDOIT. AS for NYT? Well, bye.

      Delete
    7. If the winner was determined by popular vote, then Trump would still have won. He simply would have played by those rules and campaigned to win the most popular votes instead of electoral votes. You can't prove otherwise.

      Delete
    8. Don, thanks for your reply regarding vote breakdown by counties. Just wondering what the vote breakdown by congressional district was. I found this map of vote breakdown by congressional district on Wikipedia.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2016_presidential_election,_results_by_congressional_district_(popular_vote_margin).svg

      Delete
    9. In terms of actual votes roughly half of the country voted for Trump. The breakdown was 46% Trump, 48% Hillary. This assumes all the votes were legit. The newspaper breakdown was 90%+ for Hillary vs less than 10% Trump. so your reference to Hillary getting 3 million more votes out of 129 million votes cast is incredibly stupid as an argument against Don's point. The press is out of touch with the public. Case closed.

      Delete
    10. stupid gomer.

      each state is a game. those who win the most games go to the super bowl, not the most points.

      and the truth is, the people voted for bat Shit Bernie in the Dem primaries of 2016.
      it was the sleazy fixers and string pullers and back scratchers, aka, "super delegates," that voted for sleazoid hitlary.

      you have the mental agility of slime mold.

      please- do take that personally.

      waterman

      Delete
    11. To recap from an earlier column:
      2016 Presidential Election Results -- (Analysis)

      California:
      (Dem) 8,753,788
      (Rep) 4,483,810
      diff 4,269,978

      United States:
      (Dem) 65,853,514
      (Rep) 62,984,828
      diff. 2,868,686

      U.S. diff minus California diff:
      U.S. diff. 2,868,686
      CA diff 4,269,978
      result -1.401,292

      Analysis:
      In the Popular Vote, Hillary Clinton lost 49 of 50 states by 1.4 million.

      Thus the wisdom of the Electoral College is demonstrated.


      Sources:
      https://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president/
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_United_States_presidential_election

      Delete
  6. What big company will be the first to leave NYC?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Everybody knows the troubles they've seen

    Everybody knows the sorrows

    Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring

    Not even those who have borrowed


    To predict is to pre dick.

    Thus, the flourishing of premature dicking.


    To ponder

    Is to wander

    Here and there and yonder

    In the nation of Imagination.


    To speculate

    Is to seek the speck

    Too late.


    To anticipate

    Is to ant this and wait for it.

    The anticipation masturbation of the hive minded.


    Large population cities are merely numerous small villages pressed nose to ass tightly.

    Geographically speaking.

    Sovereign State boundries geographically define Constitutional Republic goverment.

    Thus, the large population cities are effectively numerous smaller villages, outnumbering within compressed geographical boundries the widely spread out towns, villages and hamlets of the proverbial countrysides.

    Constitutional Republic defines the Rules of National government.

    Densely populated cities, aka multitude of small villages, determines the outcome of each Sovereign State's national elections.


    The irony is that the fresh air breezes out in the vast countrysides does not effect the outcomes of said national elections. Nor does it seem to imbue clarity of the realities of Quanties vs Qualities in those who enjoy the wafting breezes thereof.


    MAGA is the Quality.

    Hugely populated cities are the Quantity.


    The hive mindset of "they need us more then we need them" cuts both ways.

    Quantity will overcome Quality.


    And the quantity of pontifactions will not matter.


    The busy bees of Quality better get busy.

    As the buzzing hoardes of lefty Quantity need only be busy at election times.




    ReplyDelete
  8. Eff NYeffinC. It is a cancer on our beloved country that deserves to be excised. Nobody should be forced to live in the rabbit warrens and submit to the indignities of NYFC mass transit to make their daily way. They all deserve whatever disease they get. Meanwhile, out here in flyover country, we abide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one is forced.

      All are attracted to large urban areas by:

      1. Opportunity to earn.

      2. Opportunity to mooch, grift and pilfer.

      3. Opportunity to mingle.



      Any geographical region could be the location of tightly packed population.

      The reasons specific geographical areas are currently where big cities have located are historically practical.

      This "flyover" country has been flown over for historically practical reasons.

      Humans are inherently practical.

      Humans have to be.

      Just as every other living creatures have to be.

      MAGA is practical.

      Practical to the purpose of those minded to #1.

      Practical to the purpose of those mnded to #3.

      Opposed only by those whose purpose is minded to #2.


      So.


      "Abiding" in flyover country is your choice.

      However, merely abiding does not accomplish the practical neccessities of MAGA.



      Delete
  9. Bristol, NH ought to be sending a reporter to NYC and doing a story about how dicked the city is.

    For context.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't speak for Bristol per se, but all of Grafton County has 45 cases in a population of about 90,000. So one in 2000 people there has the virus, and one in 3000 people there live in Bristol. Very likely you could count the number of cases in Bristol on the fingers of one hand.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Margaret Thatcher had the right of it, again. "Eventually" is here and the socialists of New York and the media just ran out of other peoples money.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well, the question IS: Who do you hang for this?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I built THE cable modem you postwed by just niow in '93 with Comcast/Motorola-PowerPC(which is what the iPhone and PowerMac came from)As an hourly worker for a NASA sub, we developed life support tech for subs and the ISS.
    How 'you "abiding"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was then.

      This is now.

      MAGA is always now.

      As now is always now.

      Practical.

      Beneficial.

      Helpful.

      Now.

      Work the problem to find the solution.

      Being irked, vexed, irritated and/or frustrated can be catalysts for working the problem.

      Or, can be merely circle jerking.

      You may choose either to abide you.

      Delete
  14. USSR fell because REGAN chose advice from NIXON Wise choice. Commie-fighter. Older.
    Chinese ENGINEERED this to take OUT the older folks-
    The fighters. Our kids are weak...they KNOW it.
    All those video gamer idiots. Fat slobs, no "code of operating" a successful life.
    If they KILL THE BOOMERS
    THEY WIN.

    They KNOW this is true.
    4th dimension chess.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I live in NYC and agree with Don's observations with a caveat. The NYT is simply a PR front for Democrat partisans, and represents the Globalist agenda and perspective.

    For the NYT to advocate on behalf of local NYC interests would be akin to advocating for bitter clinging deplorables, the great unwashed of America that exists beyond the Upper West Side (and Park Slope, Brooklyn). The New Yorker magazine cover art from 1976 by Saul Stenberg, "View of the World from 9th Avenue" perfectly captures this attitude.

    It's a fascinatingly parochial outlook that is as narrow-minded as any from the Jim Crow-era--though papered-over with political correctness so as to appear high-minded while suffused with obscurant language.

    While they see themselves as an aristocracy, by all appearances they're a meritless oligarchy based on nepotism and cronyism. Their demise is nothing if not perfectly emblematic of the lack of accomplishment.

    And that's writing with a sunny disposition...

    ReplyDelete
  16. I did my best to help our local car mechanic. I bought a 2008 car last year. It only had 65K miles on the odometer, but I knew it would be wise to have some preventative transmission work done (replace the fluid and filters for a sealed unit; plus replace the differential oil for both differentials in this AWD car). It was expensive, but now the car will probably be problem free for another 10 years. I’ve only driven 50 miles in the last month. Same with my wife’s car (a 2004 car that is about as sturdy).

    ReplyDelete
  17. I, out here in the Great North Wet, am a bit more optomistic than DS, in the long-term. Newspapers, over the last 450 years, have had what is, in any time of growing change, a good run, ... and now their day is done. Newspapers grew up and were funded by the concentrations of people we call cities. Those are what is truly under threat.

    The threat of diseases to cities is magnified by the use of mass transit, and the attempts to "massify" all human mechanized transportation. That threat will grow worse as intercontinental human transport undergoes its next order of magnitude increase in speed, perhaps with the 10,000 kilometer range of SpaceX's "Starship" stage as a point-to-point ballistic transport.

    It is not just New York City that is looking at an exodus, but all urban areas. We humans started such things because getting stuff together from far away in order to make, or buy, or sell them was easier in a city. As we get Automatic Air Vehicles large enough to carry humans, and the things they want to make, buy, or sell, that reason for having cities will wane, and people will spread out much more.

    Meanwhile, this lockdown only provides another example that communications, outside of social communication, no longer requires cities for it to be faster and more efficient, much less sidewalk cafes with available newspapers to peruse and argue about.

    ReplyDelete