Friday, March 20, 2009

No news is...good news?

News organizations are fond of defending free speech and the importance of keeping the public informed. MediaNews is no different - unless that news is about the company itself.

In a move reminiscent of the MNG decision to cease filing financial reports with federal regulators, the company has asked Standard & Poor's to withdraw all credit ratings for the company.

The request is presumably a reaction to news that the company's credit rating has been cut yet again, from CCC+ to CCC, a rating that indicates "high default risk" investments.

The upshot, if there is one, will be that the company might stave off further bad news that would presumably deepen the tarnish that has engulfed the company for the better part of a decade. But is no news really good news? Does it matter that S&P will no longer report on MNG's steady slide down the credit ratings ladder until the company is now hanging at nearly the bottom rung with its legs flailing over a bottomless chasm?

The more likely reality is that the further MNG retreats into solipsism and isolation, the more distorted and unclear the truth will become to those attempting to plan their way out of this mess. And that same enigmatic shroud will also hinder any other entity that might consider reaching down to MNG with a deal that would help them back up the ladder.

Perhaps it's painfully naive, but taking an honest account of the situation, warts and all, might be for the best. And honestly, right now Singleton and company can't afford to make it harder for anyone that wants to bring back the days when company news is a source of pride.

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