Porn Proudly Enters Register Coverage of Freedom Bankruptcy

Perhaps this art photo by Nick Gaines is an example of the porn the newspaper company is trying to hide.
Orange County Register business writer Mary Ann Milbourn boldly got out front of the story about her corporate overlords at Irvine-based Freedom Communications being accused of trying to keep documents away from their creditors.

"Freedom Communications Inc. is throwing up roadblocks in its bankruptcy case by designating more than 1 million documents as confidential, including a Dodgers baseball game schedule and poetry, said the unsecured creditors committee in a court filing in Delaware today," Milbourn blogged.

She posted that on the Register site at 3:38 p.m. Friday, and by Monday the same report had been picked up by many of Freedom's 32 other daily newspapers, 77 weeklies and other publications and eight television stations around the country. But having a newspaper that hates secrecy being owned by a company trying to keep its operations secret was too much for outside journos to resist. So they took a look at the creditors' filing themselves, and what did they also find among the million documents Freedom was hiding?

And so, when the Register's follow-up blog post went up at 5 p.m. Monday, this time by  Washington Bureau chief Dena Bunis on the federal judge in Delaware delaying his decision on whether Freedom was making it difficult for creditors to get information from Freedom, the porn was in there.

After all, who wants to keep getting scooped on the ultimate story a newspaper owns?

Bunis' third paragraph is quite similar to the description of the documents used in Milbourn's earlier post, with the one hot throbbing difference.

"Robert Feinstein, the creditors' attorney, said the so-called confidential documents included 'pornography, Dodgers schedules and poetry.'"

That apparently prompted Judge Brendan Shannon to ask, "Poetry?" The judge is either a more literate reader or masking the urge to ask, "Pornography?"

"The lawyers couldn't detail either the pornography or the poetry because these documents were labeled confidential and all but one of  the members of the creditors' committee signed confidentiality agreements," Bunis explained.

The Wall Street Journal's David McLaughlin, who also followed the Register's Freedom bankruptcy coverage and got a kick out of the company marking as confidential "baseball games, blank pieces of paper, poetry and pornography," ends his report with Freedom lawyer Robert Klyman telling Shannon the newspaper, which is partly owned by private-equity firms Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners, "marked everything confidential because it doesn't have the resources to review all the documents."

The line for volunteer Freedom porn reviewers starts in a faceless Irvine business park. Wait, that's waaaaay too narrow a description, isn't it?

By the way, all us freedom-loving Freedom lovers should keep in mind that one man's porn is another's Playboy magazine, the landing spot for recently departed Freedom CEO Scott Flanders.

Is that porn on Scotty's hard drive, or is he just happy to be the hell out of there?

(A tip of the ink-stained press hat to Milbourn for posting links to: the unsecured creditors committee motion; the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. motion; and Freedom's response to the PBGC.)

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