Freedom Communications/OC Register Woes: Financial or Political? [UPDATED WITH BANKRUPTCY CONFIRMATION]
With the Orange County Register's parent company Freedom Communications of Irvine confirming it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (something deemed inevitable in Nick Schou's Navel Gazing item yesterday), one would assume this to be a financial matter.
But according to several readers of similar reports on the Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and even the Register web sites, Freedom's fall is purely political.
Now if all those readers could just agree on which politics they mean. "The voice of wing nut Orange County seeks the protection of the liberals! Same old story...." larry278 writes on Huffington.
"I recently moved to Yorba Linda and was getting the paper for free. I thought I would give it a chance and maybe keep it. But I found it to be a right wing rag with a one sided view. I cancelled it," shlepp86 adds.
"Is it too soon to say 'good riddance to bad rubbish'?" asks RobinSeattle. "The OC Register was laughed at pretty much its whole existence by anyone with a brain. It's coverage of Orange County was mostly execrable and it has been trumped time and again on important stories by the Orange County Weekly as the Hoiles family's ties with the GOP and the conservative establishment largely neutered any impulse to investigate corporate shenanigans or Republican wrongdoing. It can't disappear fast enough for my taste."
But over at the pro-establishment Wall Street Journal, Michael Wilcox observes that the problem is not that the Freedom papers are too conservative, but that they are not libertarian enough: "Unfortunately many of their thirty+ regional/local papers have not followed their Libertarian principles. While this is an over-simplification for their present condition...editorial content remains a primary force in readership. Mr. Hoiles must be turning over in his grave!"
On the Register's own site, reporting from neither the left nor the right but the middle seemed to be the cure according to most who responded there.
"With me it's got nothing to do with rep or dem issues. I just expect the truth from a newspaper that I pay a subscription fee to read," wrote ocobserver. "The truth should supercede politics." (His truth, as longtime ocobserver observers know, is illegal immigration is at the root of all social evil, which he goes on to pontificate on.)
"A NEWSpaper should be unbiased in its news sections, not left or right," added walbridge. ". . . I want more than just the 45% of the county that are Republicans represented in the pages of the paper."
That could be the fault of the paper trying to cater to the stereotypical Orange Countian, concludes ocrebel: "I am so tired of Orange County readers complaining that their news isn't slanted to the right enough. If the Register doesn't please you, no paper in America will!"
This all begs for one of those Register online insta polls asking: Are the problems at Freedom Communications and the Orange County Register financial or political? Don't hold your breath waiting for that one.