We've Got Hollywood Covered

Tribune Co. Urges Staffers: Ignore Times Story on Misogyny, ‘Frat’ Behavior

Randy Michaels says David Carr’s article is based on ”distortions and rumors.“

The New York Times published an explosive piece by David Carr about the Tribune Company. The 4,000-plus word article ran in Wednesday’s paper, and was published online late Tuesday.

In it, Carr paints the Tribune’s executive suite as a boozy, bumbling frat house, with chief executive Randy Michaels (pictured, center), in one bizarre scene, offering $100 to a waitress to show him her breasts in front of a number of senior employees.

Shortly before Carr’s piece was posted, Michaels fired off this memo to staffers (via L.A. Observed) slamming the piece and taking a swipe at Carr’s own documented history of substance abuse — even linking to a website for “The Night of the Gun,” Carr’s memoir about drug addiction.

Here's Michaels' memo in full:

We have been informed that tomorrow’s New York Times will run a column written by David Carr (http://www.nightofthegun.com/#). Many of the questions Mr. Carr asked us for this article concerned events, distortions and rumors more than two years old. He will apparently paint the work environment at Tribune as hostile, sexist and otherwise inappropriate. Many of the rumors Mr. Carr referenced were spread by an ex-Chicago Tribune employee who is now a contributing writer to the New York Times. Mr. Carr has made clear that he is digging up these old allegations because he believes that decisions about the company’s management are about to be made, and he wants to influence those decisions. Mr. Carr knows that an outside firm investigated the most substantial of these allegations, and that they were found to be without substance. Mr. Carr intends to use them anyway.

As you know, it is our intention to create a fun, non-linear creative environment. I am tremendously proud of the results of that creative culture. Our websites on the P2P platform are the most advanced in media. We have reconfigured production of the newspaper with standard ad sizes, Media on Demand Modules, and combined editing, design, and layout functions using technology. We have “Breaking News Centers” that eliminate redundancy and give newsmakers one contact point for each market’s most powerful news media. TOPS, TONS, and BRUTUS have changed the way TV is produced and aired.

It is our intention to have creative environment. A creative culture must be built on a foundation of respect for each other. Our goal is an environment where people are free to speak up, free to challenge authority, and free to fail on the way to success. Our culture is NOT about being offensive or hurtful. This is supported by our Harassment Policy. It’s in the Employee Handbook which is posted on TribLink—Section 3.

The fact that so many at other media companies dwell on the way it used to be creates great opportunity for those of us willing to rethink our opportunities and recast our culture. Ignore the noise. Treat each other with respect. Have fun, and let’s go create the future.