There’s no point in me railing against the national murder of DNAino and Gothamist yesterday by Joe Ricketts. The entire local news community across America is essentially doing that right now, and with good cause. But the statement that all the former sites now default to seems a little euphemistic to me. I can’t know what Ricketts had in his head while he was writing it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it went something like this. Because this is essentially the tone I heard in my own head while I was reading it, and I’m willing to bet this is the tone you heard, too…
November 2, 2017
Dear Suckers I Couldn’t Commodify:
Today I decided to be a spiteful, prissy Mean Girl and nuke DNAinfo and Gothamist. Reaching this decision was a piece of cake, and it wasn’t one I struggled over, either.
I started DNAinfo to get in on the trend of local news that my golf buddies at the Trib told me about when they co-opted Chicago’s blogosphere and launched Chicago Now. I believed an opportunity existed to help get the family on City Hall’s good side so we could refurb Wrigley and generate hotel and night-concert revenue to donate to Republican candidates. There was money being left on the table, and because I believe you should never miss a chance to suck revenue out of people of lesser means, I thought why not slap together my own local news rag and get some eyeballs in front of advertisers to fix that.
I was able to squeeze some revenue out of DNAinfo that way, but I made a total clusterfuck out of things when I bought Gothamist. Last week, my indentured servants at DNAinfo and Gothamist got too uppity for my arch-conservative tastes and demanded the right to earn a living wage, as if anyone who’s not already rich like me deserves to get ahead financially. I mean, on the Gothamist side alone we already delivered stories about where to get drunk the night before and where to sober up the next morning for millions of people every month in five major cities, so we had to be doing something right.
But more important than all that revenue I knew had to be trickling down to those ungrateful bastards working for me (you know, at one point they even demanded toilet paper in the johns–true story!), was the revenue I was filtering out for myself. And in the process, I believe I made their worlds a better place by letting them work for peanuts to help fatten my already elephantine wallet.
But at the end of the day those liberal commie snowflakes still bitched about not being able to afford rent, food, medicine for their kids, I mean whine, whine, whine, whine, whine. And as everyone as rich as I am knows, a business cannot be economically successful when people like me have to endure all that begging all day long. And while I made important progress toward scaring the shit out them so they’d shut up already when they talked about joining the Writers Guild last week, in the end the ungrateful fuckers played the union card anyway. And I wasn’t about to make the tremendous effort of writing smaller checks to Trump 2020 just to make it easier for Timmy’s dad to afford the expense of his asthma inhaler. Those liberal handout values aren’t the ones on which this company was founded.
I bet our readers who have been supportive and loyal for years feel like total suckers right now, since I clearly don’t give a shit about them, their communities, or their stories. I hope our former employees feel like losers, since the tireless effort and dedication they put into writing all those years of articles I just flushed down the motherfucking toilet by blocking access to all of it. All of it, do you hear motherfuckers? ALL. OF. IT. And yeah, I’m not ashamed to admit I got hard while I did it. Suffer, bitches.
I’m hopeful that in time people will forget what a vile, awful, vengeful thing I did today to hundreds of reporters and bloggers and millions of readers so that I can once again attempt to suck some revenue out of the community news space. But if they don’t, who cares? I’m wealthier than God and they don’t really matter, anyway.
Your Wrigleyville Overlord