PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES…

Today’s Los Angeles Times carries an article by Bill Dwyre titled “He doesn’t want to be a nag about horse racing, but …” Mr. Dwyre begins by saying “Even with the approach of Triple Crown season, the sport has problems. Almost too many to count.” Then he introduces a “scorecard of current-day horse racing” by listing and explaining seven or eight news items that are plaguing the sport in what should be an exciting time of the year with the approach of the Kentucky Derby.

This is rich–a classic case of a person who lives in a glass house throwing stones. It is absolutely true that horse racing, like numerous industries, has had its share of bad news. One could write the same kind of negative story about a litany of industries, most notably in this case, about newspapers. Really, now, is a newspaper columnist (especially one in the employ of the bankrupt company that owns the Los Angeles Times) in any position to pontificate about the woes of other enterprises?

In December 2008, ABC News reported that “The Tribune, which owns flagship dailies like the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as 23 television stations across the US, has been hit by falling readership and bad business decisions.” What this means more specifically is that the Tribune took on too much debt and that newspaper readership and advertising have been rapidly declining, so much so that some major newspapers have gone out of business altogether (see item #4 in my article of April 18, 2009, titled “NASCAR and Other Potpourri.”)

The bet here is that horse racing has a better future than print newspapers. Unlike the latter, horse racing has a business model that allows it to make money online. The number of newspapers that can do likewise is very few.

Newspapers do not have “…problems. Almost too many to count.” On the contrary, newspapers have a single malignant problem called the Internet. One-sided and biased articles like Mr. Dwyre’s are part of the reason that newspapers are losing their readers and are largely unsuccessful in getting people to pay for online versions.

Copyright © 2009 Horse Racing Business

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