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Sat Dec 1, 2018, 03:00 PM

Hightower Hits a Wall

Austin-based pundit and progressive activist Jim Hightower is a fountain of agit-prop and activism, impulses combined in his regular columns and appearances for various media outlets across the country and his shorter “Hightower Lowdown” (formerly a weekly Chronicle staple).

Among those efforts, he provides a weekly newspaper column for distribution firm Creators Syndicate (“I took that slot over when Molly Ivins passed on”), and says he has always been happy with the partnership.

Not so this week, when Creators editor Maxine Mulvey called Hightower staffer Melody Byrd and told her they wouldn’t be distributing the Nov. 27 column entitled, “Free the free press from Wall Street plunderers.” Byrd says Mulvey told her she liked the column, but that Creators could not risk retaliation from two named “plunderers”: Gatehouse Media and Digital First Media. Together the two mega-corps own some 1,500 newspapers (Gatehouse recently acquired the Austin-American Statesman), many of which use Creators’ material.

Here’s some of what Hightower wrote about the companies: “They know nothing about journalism and care less, for they’re ruthless Wall Street profiteers out to grab big bucks fast by slashing the journalistic and production staffs of each paper, voiding all employee benefits (from pensions to free coffee in the breakroom), shriveling the paper’s size and news content, selling the presses and other assets, tripling the price of their inferior product – then declaring bankruptcy, shutting down the paper, and auctioning off the bones before moving on to plunder another town’s paper.” (For background, Hightower cites the Dec. 27, 2017 American Prospect story, “Saving the Free Press from Private Equity.”)

Read more: https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2018-11-30/hightower-hits-a-wall/

Jim Hightower served as elected commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture from 1983 to 1991.

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TexasTowelie Dec 2018 OP
CrispyQ Dec 2018 #1

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2018, 12:20 PM

1. This is the result of an 'everything for profit' mentality. It's gonna kill us all.

I got the Hightower Lowdown for many years, back when Matt Wuerker was the cartoonist. Great articles, great toons! We have a local paper that carries his weekly column.

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