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The Chicago Sun-Times took a unique and creative approach to boosting circulation, as well as energizing recycling efforts, the rival Chicago Tribune reports. In fact, they falsified their circulation numbers by trashing large amounts of its daily run -- by some reports, as much as 25%:
A program to significantly overstate weekday circulation numbers at the Chicago Sun-Times accelerated between 2002 and 2003 as sales slipped and the newspaper's marketing budget was slashed, company sources said Wednesday.
"There was tremendous pressure to keep the numbers high," said a source with knowledge of an internal investigation into the matter. ...
Hollinger International executives wouldn't say how much the figures were inflated, but Sun-Times Publisher John Cruickshank denied a Chicago Tribune report that it was as high as 25 percent of newsstand sales. ... Though details as to how the programs worked are sketchy, a source with knowledge of the investigation said that they may have involved several individuals and that some distributors were compensated to keep returned newspapers or to just "get rid of papers."
I'm shocked, shocked to find that a member of the mainstream media would lie to suit its purposes! Such a possibility had never even occurred to me ... not even after the Sun-Times ran this hack job on Donald Rumsfeld's speech to a security conference in Singapore ten days ago. The CST ran an AP report that claimed Rumsfeld called the US efforts against terror "incoherent", when in fact his point was that some allies who fought terror on one level but continued to promote anti-Westernism at their madrassas lacked a coherent posture against terrorism. At the time, I wrote:
The Sun-Times cherry-picked Rumsfeld's words, twisted the context, and while never quite misquoting him delivered a completely different meaning to what he said. Rumsfeld, far from questioning US strategy, instead questioned the resolve and desire of some so-called "partners" in the anti-terror effort to truly stamp out its root causes.
Up to now, I never thought that the Sun-Times had a particularly egregious record in media bias. I guess they've stepped up to the Maureen Dowd/Dana Milbank threshold on this story.
Well, now they've gone beyond Milbank and Dowd to L. Ron Hubbard, whose Church of Scientology reportedly continue buying and reselling "Dianetics" to keep it on best-seller lists. (At least the Scientologists don't shred them.) Their ethics in keeping advertising problems out of their circulation reports does not seem much different than their ethics in keeping editorial policy out of their news stories.Sphere It View blog reactions
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