Audit Notes: Very profitable staff cuts; Dimon’s crisis bet; Obama and trade

Time Inc. squeezes Sports Illustrated for more money

Bloomberg’s Edmund Lee gets a great quote from the editor of Time Incorporated’s Sports Group, Terry McDonell, on why Sports Illustrated is reducing its staff of reporters and editors via buyouts:

“Everything is about money eventually and being more efficient,” he said. Although Sports Illustrated, which has 210 editorial employees, is “very profitable,” the reductions will allow the magazine to become even more profitable, he said.

It’s almost like we never learned anything from the long-term failure of short-term profit-margin boosting in the media in the 1980s and 1990s.

But hey, at least Time, unlike some other folks, isn’t pretending it’s trying to “preserve and grow” its journalism.

— Marketplace’s Heidi N. Moore has a must-read piece on what Jamie Dimon’s and JPMorgan Chase’s giant failed bet means about the endgame for the euro crisis:

While lawmakers were ostensibly asking Dimon how to prevent the next, distant financial crisis, he was openly telling them that JP Morgan had predicted, to the tune of $100 billion, that we’re hurtling towards one this year…

In another clue, JP Morgan made its gamble by betting on corporate bonds - which means the bank must have believed that this credit crisis would not just affect the obvious suspects - Spain, Greece, and Europe - but also large corporations…

In short, JP Morgan heard 2008 rattling its chains. And on that front, the bank may not be wrong. The drumbeat of a global financial crisis is getting louder and closer; in fact, we’re probably already in it.

— The Huffington Post’s Zach Carter reports on a leaked document from the Obama administration’s Asian trade negotiations. No beating around the bush here:

A critical document from President Barack Obama’s free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises…

Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings…

“Bush was better than Obama on this,” said Judit Rius, U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign, referring to the medication rules.

Recall Obama’s false campaign promises on NAFTA.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,