Skip to main content

Free Press says "goodbye" to columnist, "get lost" to union. And get ready for Madame Mayor??

Imagine our surprise to learn that the Winnipeg Free Press had a new editor and we didn't know a thing about it.

Right there in Monday's Business Calender was the notice for a welcoming reception for the paper's new man, Box Cox.

Where did he come from?

Reading further down, we saw he was obviously sharing the job with the former editor, Bob Cox, who is sitting on a forum on Red River College later in the week.
We hope page editor Steve Pona will offer a clarification soon on how Box and Bob intend to share duties.

The paper is big on notifications lately.

The deathly silent indifference which greeted the departure of Charles Adler from the editorial pages of the Winnipeg Free Press was so overwhelming, that 10 days after the last dreadful column appeared, editor Bob Cox was compelled to take note of the absence in a small note to the readers.

To convince the readers that they were actually missing Chuckster's "always engaging and provocative columns" the past Saturday and Wednesday, Cox tried to reassure everyone, notably Adler, that it was because his new national radio puff-fest resulted in his accepting "a new opportunity to complement his on-air work."

The fact neither Adler nor Cox made mention of his "opportunity" when the last column ran is duly noted. Yep, no "thanks for the past year', no "sorry I repeated everything I already said on my morning show and had almost no original stories to justify the Free Press putting me to ink", no "The Black Rod was right I'm outta here."
Winnipeggers are preparing to ignore Adler's Chanukah-time return to print in the pages of The National Post, the same way they already ignore his segments on the Manitoba Evening News. The common denominator, of course, is Canwest owns both the Post and Global TV outlets.

Now instead of paying something for nothing, the Free Press can pay nothing for nothing, because they can get Adler's new column for, um, free, under an existing arrangement to reprint Canwest news stories.

And make no mistake about it, the bottom line is the driving factor in the willingness of the Free Press to unburden itself of the vastly overpriced - $450 a column anyone?- radio entertainer, and to cut each and every cost, to make the broadsheet as attractive as possible for the Asper's to finally purchase their hometown paper.

While Adler trumpets high and wide that his departure has nothing to do with moolah, the newspaper is crying poverty to its union.

That's why Adler's departure was met with zero resistance from the owners. He was a cost that could be cut. After all, they're trying to cut the commission rate paid to salesman who had to peddle the notion Adler's column upped circulation.

That's right, the newspaper that made $30.3 million in the second quarter this year- a tidy 8.7 % increase - are offering their sales staff a CUT IN PAY of TWENTY ( 20) PERCENT.

And that's not all.

They want to reduce the number of circulation managers and basically eliminate the job entirely. Management wants to limit the seniority rights of circulation workers who can now choose their shifts. They refuse to extend seniority rights to their telemarketers or to the creative services (in the old days this was the composition room) part-timers.

And in a "we couldn't make this up if we tried" moment, the Free Press is trying to clawback money from their carriers by reducing the pay for delivered items from 5c to 3c per piece.

Yessir, Stern and Silver are trying to nickle and penny the operation. Imagine that.

Now imagine the Freep is trying to squeeze every penny possible out of advertisers and you'll understand why the paper is breaking a long-standing tradition by publishing this Remembrance Day. You don't think they're hoping anybody who compares this year's circulation with last year's will be fooled by the addition of an extra day's in '05, do you?

FP Newspapers grossed $111m in 2004, up from $105m the year before. They cleared 24 million dollars. The Income Trust returned 9.8% to unit holders. (Did we mention they are saving the $50 g's they were dishing out for Cha..., oh you figured that out too.)

But they told the union the workers offer of a 2 year deal is "a non-starter", that revenues are declining and the union has to make a long-term commitment and thank you and goodbye. The paper is offering a wage increase totalling 2.5 percent over three years. The employees, having just written stories about how the CBC is getting 12 percent over 3 years, are grinding their teeth and girding their loins for battle.

But there's a subtext to the labour story. It's a prelude to something bigger, something that will only take place after the gory negotiations are over and peace is restored.

We speak, of course, of the eventual absorption of the Winnipeg Free Press into the Asper Empire. Its only a matter of time. How much longer can the Aspers go cap in hand to Bob Silver whenever they want something from the city's major daily?

The Black Rod has been trying to figure out what is behind the delay in that acquisition, and, at the same time, what is behind the Free Press smear attack on Sam Katz heading into next year's civic election . Call us cross-eyed but it sure looks like the two are connected. After all, how would it look if a prominent family bought a newspaper, just as one of the sibling owners was sniffing around a run for the mayor's chair?

This way, the paper can continue to "neutrally" promote all things Asper until after the mayoral election - for instance:

- David Asper's new Times Square wanna-be giant video screens (which happens to face Portage and Fort, and not Portage and Main). The derelicts and panhandlers across the street on Fort won't have to leave the sidewalk now to seek entertainment.

- The Museum for Human Rights which is now a $300 million dollar project and climbing, and has as many shovels in the ground as the Can-Ad hotel/waterpark project in Grand Forks, which is to say, none.

- The Governor-general comes to town? Make sure the first quote is from Gail Asper as if - nothing personal here- she is the barometer of what an "average Winnipegger" thinks of Mme. Jean.

That could come in handy on the hustings next year n'est pas? But, we've already said too much.

- 30 -

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police