The September issue of Harper’s Magazine contains a fascinating story about Dean Singleton, owner of MediaNews Group, the privately held media behemoth that currently owns 56 daily newspapers including our very own Times-Standard.
According to “The Only Game In Town,” David Sirota recounts instances when Singleton:
- Ignored or killed stories critical of candidates he supported
- Concealed evidence that would hurt his friends and allies
- Strong-armed endorsements from his editorial boards
- Ran competitors out of business and then gutted staff
The article states that Singleton also, “without a hint of modesty,” allowed the Denver Post which he owns to run an article labeling himself “the Superman of the American newspaper industry.”
Since forcing the Post‘s competitor the Rocky Mountain News out of business, Sirota writes, “Singleton has become even more blatant in his embrace of Charles Foster Kane’s famous dictum: People will think ‘what I tell them to think.'”
What a guy. While he cuts newspapers to the bone, Singleton brags about how many ranches he has, and how good the view is from his new $85 million headquarters building in Denver.
Meanwhile, we’ve got three news reporters at the Times-Standard, an editor determined not to stick her head out of the hole for any reason, and a citizenry that knows almost nothing about what goes on around it.
As for prospects for the future, Sirota holds out little hope:
But with newspaper monopolies hanging on for now, using their trusted brands to tilt the political and cultural terrain, things will almost certainly get worse before they get better.