Fox News shouter Bill O'Reilly is back on his Times kick, this time alleging that the real circulation is about half of what the ABC said it was this week. He wasn't challenged on the facts during his visit to Hugh Hewitt's radio show, but did offer his latest take on the paper he loves to hate. In case you forgot, O'Reilly and then-Times editor John Carroll went a couple of rhetorical rounds in 2004. (O'Reilly also went after rock critic Bob Hilburn.) Apparently, O'Reilly's new book Culture Warrior takes on the LAT a little bit. From the Hewitt interview:
BO: Here’s the behind the scenes deal. The L.A. Times took a tremendously sharp turn to the left about four years ago.
BO: And since that time, the paper’s circulation has collapsed.
BO: Losing hundreds of thousands. So the latest audit has them at 850,000, down from about a million fifty. But the real circulation…
HH: I actually believe it’s at 775,000 on a daily basis, but go ahead.
BO: But listen to this.
BO: The real circulation, depending…because we’ve been looking into the operation. The real circulation is about 400,000. That’s the paid circulation that is firm.
BO: Re-ups every month. The other 450,000 are special discounts, people that go in and out. They use different names to get the special discounts, the people that are given the paper gratis, this, that and the other thing. So their base is down to about 400,000.
HH: Can it be saved, do you think?
BO: I don’t, because Los Angeles is basically a wired town.
BO: You were talking about the internet before. And the only way that a newspaper can compete against the internet is to have features in the newspaper that people look forward to read that they can’t get on the net. Now that requires you…
HH: To have talent…
BO: …The L.A. Times’ strong suit are two sections: The sports section and Calendar.
BO: Calendar has evaporated, because they don’t have anybody covering entertainment that anybody cares about. Gone are the days when people turn to the L.A. Times to see what the new movie was going to be. The Sports section’s still pretty good, but you can’t run a newspaper on a sports section. So I don’t see any hope for the L.A. Times, even if they were to swing back to fair and balanced, which they won’t do, because they believe that they’ll stay alive just by catering to the West Side Angelinos [sic], who want the liberal dose every day.
Hat tip: TristramShandy.com