The Year of
Stalemate and Sitzkrieg
An Offensive Defense
Dispatches from the Front by Burl Burlingame
|3/2/00 Gannett's attornies are notorious for filing at the last second
and then only to restate the obvious. Even so, their motion to
have the state's and SOS' anti-closure suit dismissed as moot
made it to court with only five minutes to spare! Gannett's claim
was that the state and Save Our Star-Bulletin suffered no harm
and so "there is no antitrust violation for which the court can
grant relief." The motion also claimed that "economic forces"
will "continue to drive the Star-Bulletin further into its downward
For once, they skirted the obvious: Gannett itself was the "economic force" that will make sure that the Star-Bulletin suffers. The situation is similar to that of Coca-Cola allowing Pepsi to handle its distribution and sales.
Dismissing the suit on the grounds that the original shutdown failed was another attempt to deflect investigation into the manner in which Gannett violated the public trust by scheming to shut down newspapers under the cover of the Failing Newspaper Act. All of Gannett's legal actions to date are focused on avoiding discovery in an open court, and not on a solution to Honolulu's JOA problems.
The Star-Bulletin -- and by extension, the public -- HAVE been harmed by Gannett/Liberty's actions, which have their roots in the 1992 agreement:
|3/3/00 We spent a good part of the day discussing possible legal strategies for Gannett. Do they want to force this to trial -- but be forced to testify and allow discovery? Shut up and go back to the JOA -- even after they've already testified that they'll try agin in the future to kill the Star-Bulletin? Negotiate a settlement that will appease the SOS lawsuit -- but still allow a lingering death? Or maybe they'll be forced to sell the paper -- but make it impossible for a legitimate buyer to come forward.|
|3/6/00 The Seattle Times became a morning paper on this day after more than 100 years as an afternoon publication. The Justice Department was closely reviewing this modification of the Seattle JOA.|
|3/9/00 City editor Alan Matsuoka announced he's leaving to sit among the magic clouds of Volcano and follow his literary muse. Sounds tempting, getting away from all this pressure.|
|3/10/00 In a memo giving an "update" on contract negotiations, Gannett publisher Mike Fisch clumsily threatened his existing staff, hoping out loud there won't be "Significant staff reductions or major changes in the standard of living our employees have enjoyed."|
|3/18/00 The San Francisco Examiner had a buyer approved! The news certainly cheered up a newspaper staff in this neck of the Pacific.|
|3/25/00 Frank Vega, one of Gannett's mean-spirited toughs in the Detroit newspaper debacle, quietly visited Honolulu.|
|3/31/00 As the month wound down, we were happy to see both the Hawaii House and Hawaii Senate pass resolutions supporting our struggle. These are the same guys we investigate daily as journlaists. What a weird world.|
Falsehoods, Lies and Dammed Lies