Ed Driscoll, posting at Instapundit this week, picks up a Columbia Journalism Review story about the terrible plight of the Washington Post. The paper that took down Nixon, but is resorting to lame 50-year-old “Mitt’s a bully” stories now, is burning money faster than Secret Service agents in Cartagena. And its once lucrative parent company is now losing money at a GSA rate too.
If you hadn’t heard, the Washington Post Company is basically a for-profit college/SAT-prep firm that sidelines as a cable-TV provider and newspaper publisher. The august Washington Post (I’ll italicize Post here when referring to the newspaper and won’t when referring to its parent) contributed just 15 percent to its namesake company’s revenue in the first quarter but was a $23 million drag on the bottom line.
Kaplan, the Post’s education division, is the company’s cash cow, and a few years ago looked like the newspaper’s savior. But its revenue has fallen sharply over the last year and a half since for-profit schools, very much including Kaplan’s, came under pressure for predatory practices. Its sales tumbled 14 percent from 2010 to 2011 and dropped another 11 percent in the first quarter.
Note that timing: 2010 to 2011. During that same period, the Obama administration has been waging open warfare on for-profit schools. Kaplan is in the crosshairs, and the CJR says that’s driving the company’s revenue down and putting the BullyGate paper in jeopardy. Should WaPo reporters just accept that their jobs may become collateral damage in Obama’s little war? They might re-think carrying the president’s water, well, unless he’s got a bailout waiting for them after November.