Sending shockwaves throughout the notoriously liberal stronghold of Eugene, it was announced Monday that the city’s longstanding weekly newspaper has been sold to a media consortium that includes holdings by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Eagle Publishing and Breitbart News.
The purchase of the Eugene Weekly took place in the early hours of April 1 for an undisclosed amount rumored to be in the solid four figures. The status of existing editorial staff is said to be tenuous at best, perilous at worst. A note posted on the employee bulletin board Tuesday morning simply said: “Don’t make any long-term plans.”
Come Monday, the paper will be rebranded the Eugene Guillotine, with a new motto: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” The paper will be on the cutting edge of journalism, the new owners say.
The new media ownership consortium, going under the banner of Full-Media License publishing (FML), has been gobbling up failing independent newspapers across the nation, and Eugene Weekly is only the latest beneficiary of the company’s generous plan to bail out so-called progressive papers before they plummet into irrelevance.
“Our mission is loud and clear,” says FML spokesman Chip Robertson, second-nephew to The 700 Club founder and FML Vice-President Pat Robertson. “It’s our job to tell our readers what is really going on after years of fake news and liberal horsepucky, plain and simple. To that end, we plan on working closely with local developers and certain flexible members of the political establishment to give a fair and accurate vision of reality.”
Robertson went on to outline key changes to the “editorial direction” of the newly minted Eugene Guillotine.
“More sports, definitely,” he says. “More celebration of local bigly development, too, especially the tax-break variety. And a concentrated editorial assault on liberal institutions that promote homelessness and other forms of welfare fraud. Folks in this town have been feeding off the public trough for way too long, and Eugene Weekly was always a big supporter of that. You want social justice? Visit a criminal court!”
“So, yeah,” Robertson continues, “we promote a more balanced view of the Trump agenda, it should go without saying. No more whining, hippies!”
Response by existing staff to the media shakeup, however, was a bit less sanguine. Eugene Weekly editor Camilla Mortensen said she was totally shocked by the news of the sale. “I’m at a loss,” Mortensen said over the phone before it was disconnected Wednesday. “I knew things were bad all over, but this is just unreal. How did this even happen?”
Mortensen’s future at the new paper remains unclear, pending her decision to accept FML’s generous offer to stay on in the part-time capacity of emeritus janitor.
Robertson says he’s hoping readers consider the paper’s new owners more as benefactors than “some big monolith” that destroyed a liberal institution that had it coming, anyway. “The folks at Eugene Guillotine want you to realize that we really are the good guys,” he says. “We want you to see that some of that goodness will trickle down on the whole community. Give us a chance,” Robertson adds.
“Don’t listen to all the nattering nabobs of negativity who tell you this is a change for the worse,” he continued. “We’re going to do our best to never let truth get in the way of a good story. That’s all folks want, really — a good story. I mean, the only people who complain about FOX News are the ones who never watch it.” ▪