The Aspen Times is on hard times and wants a bailout.
In case you’re not a gazillionaire, or in case you’re an unwoke one, Aspen is a rich ultra-left resort in the Colorado Rockies. Democrats outnumber Republicans about two or three to one.
Apart from skiing, the main sport in town is to make a show of detesting the money of moneyed visitors, and detesting the moneyed visitors themselves, while inventing ways to separate the detestable moneyed visitors from their detestable money. Such as $965/day ski lessons.
Which brings us to the newspaper, the Aspen Times. They’re woke for sure. They overtly promote local leftish politics such as the town’s taxpayer-subsidized housing system where insiders making up to $250,000/year get multimillion-dollar slope-side housing for dimes on the dollar. It happens that those insiders include editors and writers for the Aspen Times.
They also protect and promote their big advertiser, Aspen Skiing Company. When the epidemic was breaking in Aspen, the Aspen Times assisted them in burying the story of the decade – the names and daily whereabouts of infected visitors who, it turns out, were circulating in and out of a posh hotel owned by Aspen Skiing Company.
When Aspen Skiing Company refused to close the ski mountain until the governor ordered them to – while comically claiming that it constituted a “vital public service” – the newspaper conspicuously went along.
The Aspen Times of course milks a cash cow in the form of real estate ads. With in-town condos going for over $4,000/square foot – or upwards of $20,000,000 a unit, a little of that money spills into the Aspen Times.
All the while, the editors of the Aspen Times live in a beautiful mountain town. It’s a great little gig they got.
Disclosure: I was the token conservative columnist for the Aspen Times for seven years, and became the most-clicked columnist in the history of the newspaper (all while declining any monetary compensation). And so last Christmas Eve with no discussion they fired me by email for having “values” contrary to theirs.
OK, even if your source of news is just the Aspen Times, you’ve heard about the virus going around. It started with the Chinese eating raw bats (although you won’t see that part in the Aspen Times). About 100,000 new cases a day are recorded worldwide, and about 5,000 a day are dying. The world is locked down. Travel has all but ceased. Stock markets are crumbling. Retirement savings are evaporating. Schools are closed. Layoffs are rampant.
Grandparents who are extra-susceptible to the virus are separated from their children and grandchildren, all of them hoping that it’s not forever.
But here’s what’s really tragic.
The Aspen Times is having financial woes. Seems the market for $20 million condos in Aspen has ebbed, and so has the market for ads for the same in the Aspen Times.
And so, the Aspen Times is selflessly encouraging charitable giving – to itself.
The publisher explained that the virus “came in like a wrecking ball” right after admitting that “for at least the past year” they’ve been seeking “sustainable business models.” By the way, “they” is a Nevada corporation that owns a couple dozen newspapers around the country.
The business model that they, or at least the Aspen part of they, have settled on is begging. They’ve added a “Donate Now” button to their online masthead. There you can make a one-time donation of $25, $100, $500 or “Other” where you type in an amount.
I chose “Other.”
You can also make a monthly donation. I considered making my one-time donation every single month, but then realized that doing so would not produce a larger number. And while I’m human and find this Schadenfreude enjoyable, I don’t need a monthly dose of it.
The publisher characterized the gifts they seek as support for quality local journalism. But this corporation is not local. It’s a Nevada corporation and there’s no guarantee that the gifts won’t go straight to Nevada.
And it’s not a charitable organization like public television to which gifts are tax-deductible, as the publisher implies. It’s a for-profit business to which the gifts are not deductible.
Most importantly, the newspaper is not quality journalism at all; it’s biased. I’m not aware of them ever – ever! – endorsing a Republican candidate for any office whatever. Their news stories are slanted and their opinion pieces are unwaveringly to the far left.
They fired their token political conservative last Christmas Eve for being too successful. They pander to the left, while now panhandling to everyone. Maybe they should recognize that “quality journalism” is, firstly, unbiased journalism, and if you want a gift from someone it pays not to call them “deplorable.”
Sooooooo, I made my gift to the Aspen Times commensurate with the quality of their journalism. Please consider doing the same.