Favorite

The rest of the news 

New briefs worth further comment:

• Item: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman told a national meeting of editorial writers in Little Rock last week that newspapers were being ruined by providing news free on the Internet. It's a failed business model to give your product away, he said.

Really? Hussman established a monopoly in Little Rock's daily newspaper market by, among other strategies, 1) littering the city with millions of free newspapers once a week for years; 2) “gracing,” or continuing to deliver without payment, thousands of other newspapers on a daily basis, and 3) giving away millions of dollars in free classified advertising under the smart belief that it builds readership and brings other advertisers. He also 1) has started a free weekly newspaper, Sync; 2) has started a free monthly magazine, Arkansas Living, and 3) provides all the news and features in his Northwest Arkansas newspapers for free on the web at nwanews.com.

Think about it. Hussman perfected a print version of Craigslist (free want-ads) years before free on-line ads started playing hell with newspapers. New media models have curbed Hussman's plans to cash in on his print monopoly. He's just tasting a bit of his own bitter medicine.

• Item: The Conway Log Cabin Democrat reported last week that Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker's use of a University of Central Arkansas tent for a campaign fund-raiser at the home of UCA trustee Michael Stanton did not “throw up any red flags” in an Arkansas Ethics Commission advisory opinion. Baker was quoted as being “thrilled” with the opinion.

Further comment: The opinion did not investigate Baker's use of the tent. It only offered general advice, including strong urging that  public officials be cautious about campaign use of public property. If public property is available to all on an equal basis, then it might be legal.

Baker, who didn't pay for the UCA tent until after the Arkansas Times began making inquiries, neglected to mention that there's no record of anybody but Baker's campaign ever renting the tent. Sound equal to you?

The Log Cabin didn't trouble to ask Baker why he couldn't rent a tent elsewhere. It also could have asked about that special UCA housing for Baker's son. It also could have asked about how UCA contributed money to Baker when he was a paid fund-raiser for a foundation headed by a woman Baker was grooming to run for political office.

Red flags? I see them all over.

• Item: Rep. Clark Hall of Marvell led the charge at a legislative committee last week for a back-to-school sales tax holiday. He contends Arkansas retailers are being harmed by similar holidays in surrounding states. National chain retailers — Dillard's, Wal-Mart — have no objections because they get the business wherever the shopper goes.

The they-all-do-it argument seems popular with legislators. But if Arkansans are now flocking out of state for sales tax holiday sales, they need to go back to school.

Take Hall. He'd have to drive about 150 miles for a round-trip to Memphis. The cost of that drive is about $75, including depreciation. You'd have to spend $1,000 or more before your tax savings would recoup the cost. Gas alone for a Ford F-150 would require about $500 in purchases to break even. Competing holidays, if a problem, are primarily an issue in a handful of border cities.

 

Favorite

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Are you being served?

    These aren't good times for confidence in public servants.

    • Mar 22, 2018
  • Send in the segs

    The state Board of Education last week rejected requests from Camden Fairview, Hope, Lafayette County and Junction City to be exempt from the state law requiring students to be able to freely transfer between school districts.
    • Mar 15, 2018
  • Rich get richer

    Arkansas State University heard from a paid consultant last week about ways to become more efficient — make more money, in other words — and perhaps even serve students better.
    • Mar 8, 2018
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Stormy shaming

    Can we talk about Stormy Daniels? More specifically, can we talk about how we talk about Stormy Daniels?
  • Trump and Comey

    In the Bizarro World of the Trump administration, it's only fitting that the president serves as publicity director for James Comey's big book tour. (In the old Superman comics, Bizarro World was an upside-down reality where wickedness was virtue and vice versa.) Supposedly, Trump's stomping around the White House and various golf courses red-faced with anger, emitting smoke from his ears.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Stormy shaming

    • I do not automatically have contempt for women who have careers built around selling sex…

    • on April 19, 2018
  • Re: Stormy shaming

    • And if new 15 minutes of fame celebrity is a fat, fast-food worker then she'd…

    • on April 18, 2018
  • Re: Stormy shaming

    • Very well said. Great piece of writing for a lawyer. Wink.

    • on April 18, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation