Tribune files for bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times declared bankruptcy on Monday as the U.S. newspaper industry's unrelenting loss of readers and advertisers claimed its biggest victim yet.

Tribune Co, which owns eight major daily newspapers and several television stations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after collapsing under a heavy debt load just a year after real estate mogul Sam Zell took it private.

Like other big U.S. newspapers, Tribune is under pressure from declining advertising revenue and circulation as more people get news online and as companies cut their marketing budgets because of the economy.

"The Tribune Co's financial condition is symptomatic of the ills that plague the newspaper industry," said Jerome Reisman, a bankruptcy attorney with Reisman, Pierez & Reisman.

Tribune's bankruptcy filing is the latest chapter in the unraveling of the leveraged buyout boom which saw many companies bought by private equity firms and other investors ending up with massive debt loads.

Zell loaded up the privately held publisher with about $8 billion in additional debt when he took the company private in a transaction largely financed by company contributions to an employee stock option plan.

Like other big companies which took on heavy debt burdens during the private equity boom, Tribune is now being forced to find a way to cut its borrowings to an amount it can handle.

"This process of deleveraging America, whether financial institutions or Tribune, will be a long, slow and painful process," said Duke University Law School Professor James Cox. "That's what's going to prolong this recession."

Even newspaper publishers which haven't borrowed heavily have been struggling to cope: The New York Times Co is reevaluating its assets while slashing its dividend; media reports say McClatchy Co has approached potential buyers about a sale of the Miami Herald; and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is restructuring while its owner, private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, has skipped debt payments.

Tribune, which also owns the Baltimore Sun and the Orlando Sentinel, had $7.6 billion in assets and $12.97 billion in debt as of December 8, according to its bankruptcy filing.

Tribune also owns 23 television stations, which are expected to be hit by the typical advertising declines that follow major elections when political spending virtually disappears.

"It has been, to say the least, the perfect storm," Zell said in a memo to employees. "A precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy have coupled with a credit crisis, making it extremely difficult to support our debt. All of our major advertising categories have been dramatically impacted."

"There's been so much bad news constantly lately, everyone's just shrugging their shoulders," a Tribune newsroom staffer in Chicago said. "It's just one more day of more disappointing news."

Most of the $8.2 billion Zell buyout price was paid for by the pensions of Tribune's 20,000 workers, held in an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP.

The ESOP structure was designed to reduce Tribune's taxes and it lowered Zell's own price tag to $315 million.

ASSET SALES

The filing does not include Tribune's Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball team or its storied ballpark, Wrigley Field -- both of which Zell has struggled to sell.

At least three groups submitted offers to Tribune last week in the latest round of bidding after receiving more detailed financial data on the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent stake in a regional sports TV network.

Analysts have said the assets, which Tribune put on the block in April 2007, could attract bids topping $1 billion.

But the process has been repeatedly delayed and the slumping U.S. economy has led to speculation that final bids could be lower than initially expected.

"The reality is that we -- along with the rest of the country -- have very little visibility on where the economy is headed and how our businesses will perform given the recession," Zell said in the memo.

Tribune has already sold the Newsday newspaper on New York's Long Island to Cablevision Systems Corp.

During the third quarter, Tribune also sold a 10 percent interest in online job site CareerBuilder to Gannett Co Inc for $135 million.

The L.A. Times, the largest paper in the Tribune chain, has drawn steady interest from suitors that include entertainment mogul David Geffen. But Tribune has been reluctant to sell the paper, which still generates a profit.

Tribune said its unsecured creditors include J.P. Morgan Chase & Co's JPMorgan Chase Bank with an $8.57 billion claim under a senior facility, and Merrill Lynch & Co Inc's Merrill Lynch Capital Corp with a $1.6 billion claim under a bridge loan facility.

Its equity holders include a Tribune employee stock ownership plan with 56.52 million shares.

The filing said Tribune had retained Lazard and Alvarez & Marsal as financial advisers, and Sidley Austin and Cole Schotz Meisel, Forman & Leonard as legal counsel.

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Americans are losing faith in our justice system and the idea that legal consequences are applied equally — even to powerful elites in office.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he believes will come next with the Durham investigation, which hopefully will provide answers to the Obama FBI's alleged attempts to sabotage former President Donald Trump and his campaign years ago.

Rep. Nunes and Glenn assert that we know Trump did NOT collude with Russia, and that several members of the FBI possibly committed huge abuses of power. So, when will we see justice?

Watch the video clip below:


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The corporate media is doing everything it can to protect Dr. Anthony Fauci after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) roasted him for allegedly lying to Congress about funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China.

During an extremely heated exchange at a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Paul challenged Dr. Fauci — who, as the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, oversees research programs at the National Institute of Health — on whether the NIH funded dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Dr. Fauci denied the claims, but as Sen. Paul knows, there are documents that prove Dr. Fauci's NIH was funding gain-of-function research in the Wuhan biolab before COVID-19 broke out in China.

On "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn and Producer Stu Burguiere presented the proof, because Dr. Fauci's shifting defenses don't change the truth.

Watch the video clip below:

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Critical race theory: A special brand of evil

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Part of what makes it hard for us to challenge the left is that their beliefs are complicated. We don't mean complicated in a positive way. They aren't complicated the way love is complicated. They're complicated because there's no good explanation for them, no basis in reality.

The left cannot pull their heads out of the clouds. They are stuck on romantic ideas, abstract ideas, universal ideas. They talk in theories. They see the world through ideologies. They cannot divorce themselves from their own academic fixations. And — contrary to what they believe and how they act — it's not because leftists are smarter than the rest of us. And studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country. Marx was no different. The Communist Manifesto talks about how the rise of cities "rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life."

Studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country.

Instead of admitting that they're pathological hypocrites, they tell us that we're dumb and tell us to educate ourselves. Okay, so we educate ourselves; we return with a coherent argument. Then they say, "Well, you can't actually understand what you just said unless you understand the work of this other obscure Marxist writer. So educate yourselves more."

It's basically the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, the idea that when you point out a flaw in someone's argument, they say, "Well, that's a bad example."

After a while, it becomes obvious that there is no final destination for their bread-crumb trail. Everything they say is based on something that somebody else said, which is based on something somebody else said.

Take critical race theory. We're sure you've noticed by now that it is not evidence-based — at all. It is not, as academics say, a quantitative method. It doesn't use objective facts and data to arrive at conclusions. Probably because most of those conclusions don't have any basis in reality.

Critical race theory is based on feelings. These feelings are based on theories that are also based on feelings.

We wanted to trace the history of critical race theory back to the point where its special brand of evil began. What allowed it to become the toxic, racist monster that it is today?

Later, we'll tell you about some of the snobs who created critical theory, which laid the groundwork for CRT. But if you follow the bread-crumb trail from their ideas, you wind up with Marxism.

For years, the staff has devoted a lot of time to researching Marxism. We have read a lot of Marx and Marxist writing. It's part of our promise to you to be as informed as possible, so that you know where to go for answers; so that you know what to say when your back is up against the wall. What happens when we take the bread-crumb trail back farther, past Marxism? What is it based on?

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism.

It's actually based on the work of one of the most important philosophers in human history, a 19th-century German philosopher named Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism. And, as you'll see in just a bit, if we look at Hegel's actual ideas, it's obvious that Marx completely misrepresented them in order to confirm his own fantasies.

So, in a way, that's where the bread-crumb trail ends: With Marx's misrepresentation of an incredibly important, incredibly useful philosophy, a philosophy that's actually pretty conservative.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

We've heard a lot about critical race theory lately, and for good reason: It's a racist ideology designed to corrupt our children and undermine our American values. But most of what we see are the results of a process that has been underway for decades. And that's not something the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, and even teachers unions want you to know. They're doing everything in their power to try and convince you that it's no big deal. They want to sweep everything under the rug and keep you in the dark. To fight it, we need to understand what fuels it.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck exposes the deep-seated Marxist origins of CRT and debunks the claims that it's just a harmless term for a school of legal scholarship. Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer joins to argue why we must ban critical race theory from our schools if we want to save a very divided nation.

Watch the full "Glenn TV" episode below:

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