I now have a firsthand report, and the previous one was exactly backwards on the second point. If you follow me.
Apparently, what Rep. Altman actually said about editors at The State was that we can’t get anything for free at any stores — even temporarily. More specifically, he is said to have said that the newspaper’s owners won’t let us get so much as a box of paper clips on credit, on account of how we’re such terrible business people.
With regard to myself, I must endorse the representative’s remarks on this score. I am not a businessman, terrible or otherwise, but if I were I’d probably be a lousy one. And while the paper clip thing may be a tad hyperbolic, he’s caught the gist of what it’s like working with Knight Ridder. I can get the paper clips, but then we have to go through all sorts of gyrations to get the expense processed.
There are many reasons why we’ll all be glad to be owned by McClatchy soon.
As for the other — well, my first source seems to have gotten it right. Of my having called him a "jerk," he seems to have observed that "that is the extent of his erudition."
So, bottom line: John Graham Altman is still a jerk, but that doesn’t mean he’s always wrong.