Aaron Kushner Promises a Great OC Register But Will The Boston Investor Pass The Sincerity Test?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Richard Nixon.jpg
Nixon: Kushner? Sounds like another dirty Jew to me...
How is this for news enough to make Tricky Dick Nixon roll over fuming mad in his Yorba Linda grave?

Aaron Kushner--the under-40, Boston-area man and Georgia native whose private investment firm has bought The Orange County Register--consults with Ben Bradlee.

Isn't Bradlee the legendary determined Washington Post editor who helped bring down Nixon's presidency during the Watergate corruption scandal?

Well, no. Ben Bradlee ran the paper in the nation's capital, but Ben Bradlee, Jr. is a longtime, acclaimed Boston Globe editor.

This distinction, missed by me earlier this afternoon, might not be that apparent or comforting in Orange County's notorious right wing circles.  

The mere Ben Bradlee name is sure to fuel liberal media conspiracies for the bluehairs, trust-fund babies and John Birch Society offspring sipping their stiff toddies and bitching about Mexicans, communists, IRS agents and Democrats at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

Meanwhile, current Register editor Ken Brusic is unwittingly predicting his own demise.

The new owners are dedicated to "quality" journalism, says Brusic, the man who has helped to guide the paper into--how can I put his nicely?--embarrassing and ever-declining mediocrity.

If onetime Texas Gov. Ann Richard knew the Reg editor, she might have opined that he couldn't pour water out of a boot with a hole in the toe and instructions on the heel.

Under Brusic's leadership, for example, the paper's management will eagerly send, by their own admission, "more than 100" staffers--a "flash news mob"!--to cover a terribly critical news event, such as new attractions at Disney's California Adventure, but can't find the motivation to dedicate one competent reporter to cover a brazenly corrupt sheriff.

So what's out there on the new owner? The most comprehensive article about him is a February 2011 Boston Magazine story dismissively titled, "Paper Tiger." Reporter Katherine Ozment described Kushner as a clean-shaven, handsome, lean man prone to empty but forceful talk. According to Ozement, the Stanford University graduate exhibited "youthful exuberance." At the time of the interview, he lived in a $1.7 million Boston house with his wife and three kids. 

Ozment's report may provide valuable insight into Kushner's plans to rebuild the Register. During his push to buy the Boston Globe, he admitted that making a profitable paper in the current economic climate is a mystery. "You know," he told Ozment, "the reality is that there isn't today a good, clear model about how you profitably grow a newspaper."

Kushner's most substantial business experience is in the media . . . well . . . if you count selling religious and inspirational greeting cards.

Aaron Kushner OCR boss new.jpg
New Reg King
Does the fact have any relevance to current Reg staffers?

Ozment's weighty piece describes how Kushner's 2005 takeover of Renaissance Greeting Cards swiftly resulted in cold-blooded firings in which, according to one of the company's employees, staffers were lined up "like cattle" and fired without explanation.

Stories like that might delight the Orange County Republican Party, Newport Beach billionaire Don Bren and Orange County Business Council corporate lobbyists, but there's still that unsettling Bradlee connection for the county's establishment.

The Globe's Bradlee told Ozment that he believes Kushner understands that a region's main daily newspaper should be a "prized civic asset."

For OC journalism's sake, we hope Bradlee's assessment is right. But there's a simple, foolproof test of Kushner's sincerity: Will he keep or replace Brusic at the helm of the county's struggling flagship news outlet?

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13 comments
JB
JB

Hi, Beeeezzzzlinggg.  I'm an outside observer...NYC transplant, here in OC less than 10 years.  I just want to know, why is your newspaper, the OC Register, such a laughable joke?  It would be so much better if you had Mr. Moxley, and dozens of other journalists like him (even though I'm guessing Mr. Moxley has no interest in being employed therein).  Thanks & best regards, -- "JB"

JB
JB

I think the delivery guy hates the Register, too

Kmontague1974
Kmontague1974

We shall see what changes if anything.  It has to be better than the crap the register has been churning out for years now.  It's sad to see almost every story in the register is just an AP reprint.  If I want to read that i just go to the AP website or any other Free outlet.  It's one of the main reasons I stopped wasting money on a subscription to the register.  The other reason being I couldn't get the delivery guy to STOP throwing the paper at my window at 4 AM...

Tactical Flash
Tactical Flash

East coast liberals will now run the west coast liberals.  Kind of like the joining of the cross country railroad.  SoCal has turned into such a shithole that it's the laughing stock of the country now.  Californians are hated in Texas, Florida, and even in Maine!  Californians have been living "Their" dream for sooooo long that they never understood that their dream  was an illusion!  Maybe some of the actors and sports monkeys you worship can spare you a few bucks when you are hungry.  I think not.  You scum deserve it.

R. Scott Moxley
R. Scott Moxley

That a veteran Register employee gets so upset that he has to post comments on our website using the identity of an ex-OCW intern demonstrates your sniveling, cowardly nature. Your hamfisted comments are an endless supply of laughter over here. Thanks! PS - You love to claim you ignore our stories and yet you obssessively monitor our work from your Reg computer. ;)

Beezzzzling
Beezzzzling

You really are a thin-skinned joke of a journalist aren't you, Gussie? You control the delete button, so sure, delete away. But consider the credibility of your publication. If you make a mistake -- hey, they happen -- and refuse to acknowledge it or accept responsibility for it, then how credible of a source of information is your publication? Or consider it this way: If the Register made a mistake in a story and your hacks noticed and pointed it and it went uncorrected, hmmm, I wonder what kind of commentary they'd have in these august digital pages you oversee here. PS. If you're going to delete my comments, you probably ought to delete your responses to me. Otherwise you look like an unhinged maniac ranting at ghosts. See? Here I am, a helper, helping you be a better you one more time! Your BFF, Beeeezlinggggggg

Beezzzzling
Beezzzzling

I'm only No. 3? Boo hoo hoo! I knew I shouldn't have taken the last two or three years off from reading the OC Weakly. Nice job of fixing the blatant mistake without acknowledging it. Let me help you write a correction like a reputable publication would do:"Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly described the relationship between Ben Bradlee and Ben Bradlee Jr. They are father and son. We regret the error."See? It's easy! If you're gonna wear the editor's big boy pants it's time to learn how to do the job, Gussie!  Hugs and kisses,Beeeezzzzzzlingggggg 

Beezzzzling
Beezzzzling

Hey Moxley, time to write a correction, please! You wrote: " Well, no. Ben Bradlee ran the paper in the nation's capital, but Ben Bradlee, Jr., no relation, is a longtime, acclaimed Boston Globe editor." Actually, they are related: Ben Bradlee is the father of Ben Bradlee, Jr. Imagine that! Oh, while you're at it, might be time to correct Nicky's long-uncorrected claim that Barry Koltnow was fired, what, five years ago now? Sincerely your pal, Beeeeeezzzzzzling

JB
JB

And someone has to call me if Mr. Moxley ever writes about OC Metro magazine, which is, hands down, the most painful thing you'll ever read in all of about 12 minutes.  One of my fantasies in life is to show up at one of its "Most Trusted Brands" breakfasts or its "Economic Forecast" breakfasts and just scream: "Aaaaaaaaaaahh!!"

Giant Douche
Giant Douche

oc weekly shoulda bought the register.  

video security systems
video security systems

Well, no. Ben Bradlee ran the paper in the nation's capital, but Ben Bradlee, Jr., no relation, is a longtime, acclaimed Boston Globe editor.

JB
JB

That's so true, Over but not out.  When you read a 'real' newspaper like the LA Times, not to mention the Weekly's Navel Gazing blog, an almost breathless urgency assaults you as your eyeballs scan the news (or breaking news) headlines.   Not so with the Reg... stories about a woman in a Laguna Hills nursing home turning 105 are nice, but just don't exactly get my heart racing.  . . I call the OCR the "newspaper of blogs"... they don't seem to have distinct news articles or reporters, just blogs and bloggers. 

Beeeezzzzlinggg
Beeeezzzzlinggg

So correcting your reporting error vis a vis Ben Bradlee Jr. not being related to Ben Bradlee is a ham-fisted comment, Moxley? Not that anyone reading these comments would know that's what started it all given that Gussie thinks its appropriate to selectively censor comments on your site. ;) back at ya.

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