Stupid is as stupid does!
So suddenly DNAinfo is no more, and the moral of that story is, a bunch of overly entitled, smug, shortsighted and vainglorious (look it up!) journalists are no match for Joe Ricketts. Perhaps they shouldn’t have called his “bluff!”
For the uninitiated, DNAinfo was a hyperlocal news experiment founded in 2009 by billionaire Ricketts, the Cubs family patriarch, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Though I think it was a bad business model, they took a no-nonsense approach to local reporting by eschewing opinion, editorials, taking sides on issues, and political endorsements.But make no mistake, the bottom line was (pun intended), the only reason this enterprise existed is because Joe Ricketts underwrote the whole thing. With Net ads bringing in less than 10 percent of their print counterparts, DNAinfo never came close to breaking even, much less making a profit.
Just like Illinois unions fervently felt they couldn’t let the Sun-Times die, Ricketts believed a truly independent news organization was critical to the municipal Democratic process. And he paid his people far more than they would’ve made at any newspaper.
But despite a clear understanding of this business dynamic, last April, the 27 blitheringly oblivious journalists in the New York office decided to bite the hand that fed them by joining the Writer’s Guild, an obsolete union if there ever was one.
When Ricketts made his displeasure abundantly clear by refusing to negotiate with the union, failing to consider that fencepost over the head hint, those chutzpah addled New Yorkers turned to the National Labor Relations Board who forced a formal vote. And when 25 of ‘em went all Norma Rae on him, the unamused Ricketts shut the whole thing down the following week.
And 115 journalists lost the kind of jobs that they’ll never see again because they don’t exist anymore.
Then, in a scene right out of a Monty Python movie, those suddenly former DNAinfo employees had the nerve to basically tweet “I can’t believe this happened,” which is more than ironic when you consider that journalists are supposed to have the capacity to understand cause and effect.
Of course, all the insipid anonymous commenters are calling out Ricketts for what they call a “dick move.” Really? I’m certainly no fan of the Rickett’s family brand of conservatism, but if the employees I’m paying out of my own pocket offered me that not so subtle fuck you, I’d send ‘em packing too!
I don’t think “hoist by their own petard” is nearly a strong enough sentiment here.
He had a bad day?
If you recall, Dominic Castelvechhi the adult member of the trio that firebombed my pickup truck in my driveway at 3 a.m. on an April 2016 Saturday morning, just got 15 days. The moral there is, when considering potential sentences, you’re far better off going on an arson spree than selling small amounts of pot.
After that absurd sentencing, his attorney, a real piece of work, said, “He’s not a bad kid. He had a bad event.” A “bad event?” A flat tire is a “bad event!” Throwing Molotov cocktails at two residences is a a bit more than a “bad event.” A black or Hispanic offender would’ve gotten at least two years.
Castelvecchi’s lawyer delayed the proceedings for over a year-and-a-half so this worthless piece of bleep could get just sober enough to enroll in community college and get a minimum wage job. Then Judge David Kliment, not the brightest bulb in the 16th circuit pack, fell for it.
Ah! But as a result of that sentencing, a number of former classmates and friends reached out to explain the real Dominic Castelvecchi.
According to a former middle and Geneva High School classmate, “Dominic was one of the students that everyone knew did drugs.” Her theory is borne out by the fact that Castelvecchi was already serving supervision for drug paraphernalia in his locker when he assembled those Molotov cocktails.
They went on to say that Castelvechhi was frequently suspended for drug use, drinking and assaulting other students, going all the way back to seventh grade.
Another former classmate said, “I would frequently see him grabbing girls’ butts in the hallways, followed by them looking scared and quickly escaping with their friends.” Apparently he’d call them prostitutes in the process. The source added that those young women were so scared of Castelvechhi, they wouldn’t seek help from Geneva High School administrators.
But none of that came into play during his sentencing because a prosecutor told me that most judges won’t consider a juvenile record when faced with a first adult offense. It’s kind like shaking a virtual Etch-a-Sketch. Those youthful incidents are magically mitigated by sheer virtue of turning 18.
I’m gonna keep on saying it! There’s no justice in Kane County. So let’s see what the civil courts can do. I promise I’ll keep you posted.