In yesterday’s LA Weekly interview with Andrés Martinez, Nikki Finke surprised Martinez with a question about subscription phone solicitations:
Are you aware that phone solicitations by the L.A. Times in recent weeks to try and get subscribers – and it’s clear they’re reading from a script since I’ve had this told to me over and over and over again by friends and acquaintances – ask if you’re angry about the political content of the paper. And before you’ve even answered, they go, “I want you to know that we’re bringing in a lot more conservative voices and conservative columnists.” Which frankly shocked me.
I didn’t know that.
I’m not aware of that.
I wasn’t aware of that either, so I called the LAT subscription line this morning posing as ‘Mr. Smith.’ (I know, lousy alias, but I’ve never been much for tradecraft.) Mr. Smith told the customer service person that he had heard from friends that the paper was going to be tilting its politics more conservatively– in which case, he would be interested in subscribing. No script was launched into (of course, this was an incoming call, not an outgoing one) but the customer service rep did say that the paper was planning on adding new reporters and editors in order to become “more, what do you call this, associated with the people… less liberal, less political.”
Then I blew my cover and said I’d prefer that the paper become more liberal. Oops.