Archive for Boston Globe

Sox, Globe and Capitalism Gone Stupid Podcast

CoinsHuge disadvantages of the fabulously wealthy include no one around with the guts and wit to say, “You’re being stupid!” Another, more intractable one is the delusion if you are rich you must be brilliant…in everything.

Over the past decade or so, John Henry has pushed his The Boston Globe and Red Sox to the edge of ruin and seems to have no sense of that. He is the ugly side of capitalism or one of the ugly sides. He jacked up ballpark/ticket prices to the highest in baseball. Likewise, he is huge in expensive newspaper paywalls and has made both home delivery and online Globe prices the highest in the nation, higher even than papers like the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Those two, at least, give you info to earn you money back and more. The Globe simply relies on its almost monopoly status (there is an asthenic Murdoch-owned tabloid for a weak competitor.)

This past week, Henry blew it again. He’s already pared the writing/reporting staff to the nub. Now he went after the delivery contractor, switching to a cheaper vendor. That makes perfect capitalistic sense; bottom line, don’t you know. The problem is that the new contractor has already failed elsewhere and certainly plonked here.

Let us consider Henry’s empire and whether the delusional rich can ever objectively judge their decisions. I suspect you already know my conclusion.

icon for podpress  Capitalism gone stupid [26:25m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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OK, No Boston Olympics; Get to Work

Wring hands and rend garments…or not. Boston won’t host the 2024 Summer Olympics, as a big fish might not host a lamprey eel.

I spoke of why we simultaneously backed out of the bid as the US Olympics Committee told us to get lost. Fundamentally the catalyst came when the USOC visited and our Mayor Marty Walsh said in effect, “If you won’t tell me what I’m signing up for, I won’t sign.” Frankly both the International (iOC) and the USOC are accustomed to in fact demand, obeisance. Walsh is a simple man from the land of the maple trees (Guantanamera), not palms and ring or butt kissing aren’t his habits.

Of course the queering of the deal involves a lot more and I got into some of it.

More important, I am on the side of the many who not only resent the don’t-you-worry-your-pretty-little-head attitude of both the national and local proponents of the bid, but also stomp and point to the big promise. The USOC and Boston 2024 folk said repeatedly that we need this and that (infrastructure improvements, transit overhaul, affordable housing), and that we’d do it only under the deadline pressure of the Olympics bid.

We do need those things, but diluting our resources of money and time with Olympics folly can only delay or prevent that. Instead we need:

  • a governor, mayor, and legislative leaders committed to achieving these improvements
  • a clear and precise vision of where we want to go with mass transit, roads, housing and such

So far our newish governor, Charles D. Baker, has not shown himself a visionary. Moreover, our legislators are capons scratching the Beacon Hill yards clucking, “No new taxes. No new taxes.”

They may not have guts and smarts on their own. Yet with the passions educed from this 18-month bid process, the public has gotten a taste for improvements.

icon for podpress  Olympics '24 Banned in Boston [25:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Globe Paywall Decision Podcast

In a personal show, I discuss what lead to stopping delivery of the local paper…after 30 years. Boston Globe owners are right in there with cable providers in jacking up prices and seeing how much subscribers will tolerate.

They passed my chokepoint at last. That was hard to do, getting a former reporter and lifelong newspaper reader to drop them.

For a bit of background, we had a paywall show in 2009, with newspaper publisher Martin Langeveld, available here.

The economics of cash-rich, low-inventory newspapers are unlike most businesses. They also need customers to justify their real source of income, advertising. Driving customers away by attempting to profiteer off them, treating them as a profit center, seems foolish, but is the new norm.

icon for podpress  Paywall cancel sub [15:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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