Editorial: February 20

CBJ Feb 2020

Print journalism has been under siege with more and more news outlets now providing the vast majority of content online. Now, one of print’s most ardent supporters is apparently throwing in the towel in yet another obvious indication that the medium continues to slide downwards. American billionaire Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway company have opted to sell their entire newspaper business to Lee Enterprises for $140 million in cash, which if nothing else, is a major public relations hit for the medium. The 89-year-old Buffett has long been an ardent defender of print journalism, but nonetheless has decided it’s time to move on due to mounting financial losses. Print costs are astronomical and advertising continues to plummet virtually everywhere in North America. The sale to Lee Enterprises includes 30 daily papers and several dozen weeklies.

Boeing posted an annual loss for the first time since 1997 due to $19 billion in losses related to its grounded 737 MAX, including $4 billion in applicable charges. The aircraft was grounded in March of last year after two crashes that killed 346 people. Chicago-based Boeing has been updating the 737 MAX flight control system and software to address issues believed to have played a role in the two deadly crashes. It’s still unknown when the 737 MAX will be authorized to fly again. Assuming all the glitches are fixed it would seem a name change would also be necessary from a PR standpoint.

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have been given authorization to operate in B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Whistler. The decision was made by The B.C. Passenger Transportation Board, which also declined approval for ReRyde Technologies and Kater Technologies for several B.C. regions. It’s not yet known when Uber and Lyft services will be made available to the public. Needless to say, taxi cab companies are not pleased.

Shameful. That’s the one word I can think of when summing up what was a complete partisan clown show south of the border, also known as the Donald Trump Impeachment Trial in the U.S. House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate. And by a clown show, I want to make it clear that numerous clowns were to be found on either side of the aisle with their distorted take on the truth and at times, outright lies. Both the Democrats and Republicans acted with such unbelievably astounding biased partisanship that it was clear from the outset absolutely nothing would be accomplished. In the House, Trump is viewed as nothing short of evil. In the Senate, the worst take on Trump that you’d get from moderate Republicans was that he has acted inappropriately, but not to the degree that they’d vote to remove him from office. The U.S. has never been so divided in its 244-year history and the next four years are quite likely to only get much, much worse.

Angus Gillespie
angus@cbj.ca
@CanBizJournal

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