KK's Korner

No telling what’s being thought of in the mind of a lunatic

Archive for February 4th, 2006

Publication Predicament

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Many choices I make in life I try to base on “principle.” One of them is where I get my news. Yeah, yeah, yeah, OMG FAUX NEWS LOL2006! Drudge’s sirens, red headlines and DEVELOPING exclusives! RIGHT-WING RADIO! In this instance I’m not talking about these particular media outlets; I am instead referring to the local newspapers in my area. In the Shittsburgh region, there are two “major” daily publications: the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Post-Gazette is by far the more widely read of the two. It also happens to be a liberal rag.

There are a lot of reasons why I can’t stand the Post-Gazette. One example is back in the late 1990s when the region faced a referendum on whether to increase the county’s sales tax by a fraction of a percent in order to help fund new stadiums for the Steelers and Pirates. Of course the Post-Gazette was all for this. During the months leading up to the vote, there was story after story about how great this tax was going to be for the region. However, there was one thing the Post-Gazette never seemed to mention: the fact that the newspaper owned a minority share of the Pirates. It’s interesting that this little tidbit was rarely, if ever, mentioned when it should have been noted in nearly every article about this tax increase so the reader could know about a potential conflict of interest. Of course when the referendum crashed and burned, despite the Post-Gazette and other tax supporters warning that the Pirates were going to move to another state, the stadiums were built anyway with a different source of funding. While the excuse made by the Post-Gazette was that their share in the Pirates was small, would they be just as understanding to a politician who was in a similar situation? (The answer, by the way, is “no.”)

Another memory I have of the Post-Gazette took place more than a decade ago. This time the paper wrote a favorable editorial about the doubling of a toll for a local expressway, stating that commuters using this road should pay for the convenience. A few weeks later these same people wrote a negative editorial about a local bank raising its ATM service fee. Now besides the fact that the first fee increase was done by the government and the second increase was done by a private institution, what’s the difference between the two increases? Both are “service-oriented” tolls that can be avoided by a consumer, and both were of a similar amount (something like 50 cents). One just happened to make an evil corporation richer while the other paid for more construction workers to stand around a gravel pit and play with big machines.

A more recent oldie-but-goldie came when the Post-Gazette weighed in on the Kelo v. New London case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Basically, this was an eminent domain situation where the State wanted to take the homes of residents and give the land to a private developer. In their praising of this decision, it’s interesting to note how the Post-Gazette labeled three of the Justices who dissented as “conservative…”

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in a spirited dissent joined by three of her conservative colleagues…

…yet don’t use any adjectives to describe the five communists that said it’s OK for the State to take a person’s land and give it to someone else who will, in theory, generate more tax revenue, thus contributing to the “greater good” of an area.

When I decided to subscribe to a local newspaper I did not want to become a regular customer of the left-wing Post-Gazette. I turned to the Tribune-Review, a much more conservative publication funded by the “George Soros of the right-wing” Richard Mellon Scaife. I didn’t care much about the actual news content I was buying since I read on the Internet most of the wire articles both newspapers use. All I wanted was a Sunday newspaper so I could clip coupons and look through weekly circulars.

I ordered a year’s subscription to the Trib, and the service I received during those 12 months was less-than-stellar. My subscription was for Sunday newspapers only, and for the year I was a subscriber I didn’t receive my publication in at least eight instances. When it came time to renew my subscription, I decided to wait and see if the Trib would contact me and offer me some sort of deal because I certainly wasn’t going to pay full price for this pisspoor service. (My original offer was a discounted “new customer” promotion.)

After my subscription expired, I received some extra issues in the weeks that followed, which was expected. Whenever I got stiffed on my Sunday newspaper, I let the Trib home office know about it and they’d give me a credit. Well, this past week, I got a letter from the Trib. Was it an special offer to renew my subscription? No.

It was a bill for two month’s worth of newspapers delivered to my house.

Curious about this bill, I called the Trib and was told by a customer service representative that my subscription ran out and this fee was for the newspapers I received that weren’t part of my subscription. She added that unless I called the Tib and specifically told them not to renew my subscription, that they would assume I wanted my subscription renewed. Now I have subscribed to at least a half-dozen news publications in my lifetime, and whenever I decided not to re-subscribe I didn’t have to call and tell them of my decision. When my subscriptions ran out at these other places, I simply stopped getting their publications.

When I told this lady how could the Trib have known what I wanted to do in regards to my account, she said that sending issues to people that haven’t re-subscribed was company policy. I then told her that these Sunday newspapers stopped arriving at my house more than a month ago, thus showing me the Trib must have realized that I no longer wanted their service; otherwise, I would be still getting newspapers. I encountered an extended pause, followed by “I’m sorry,” to which I replied, “No, I’m sorry because the Tribune-Review will never have me as a regular subscriber again.”

Now what am I to do? Go to the liberal rag in town for my weekly coupons or stick with the right-wing tabloid that screwed me out of a few bucks? Well, unless I get a subscription deal from either publication, I will just drive down to a local business that sells newspapers (there are several located less than a mile from my house), and get whatever one is available.

This week, the Post-Gazette’s early Sunday edition is my coupon-clipper of choice. I’m still deciding on whether or not to read the editorial page, though.


Written by kkktookmybabyaway

February 4, 2006 at 10:36 am

Posted in Life