Yediot Ahronot, one of Israel’s leading newspapers, will be cutting dozens of journalists from its staff in a cost cutting measure that a senior executive is blaming on billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s free paper, Israel Today.
“We’re on the eve of very hard and major cutbacks at Yediot Ahronot, the executive told Globes, an Israeli business publication. “Every part of the group will be affected. This is it; we’ve reached the red line.”
Some of the journalists who will be let go have been with the paper for years, according to the executive, who says that advertising prices are being driven down to unsustainable levels for traditional newspapers, by Adelson’s Israel Today publication.
“You must know that Israel Today is destroying Israeli journalism not only at the professional level, with its embarrassing editorial conduct, but also at the economic level. Israel Today is not managed in an economic way. They are breaking the market with ads at zero cost, and the result is that the other papers cannot survive because the price of ads is constantly falling.”
Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has been active in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, including providing financial support to Newt Gingrich during the Republican primaries, and now, to Mitt Romney. Adelson has stated that he is willing to spend $100 million towards preventing President Obama from being elected to a second term.
“Israel Today has finished Ma’ariv’, and it is now finishing Haaretz,” the Yediot Ahronot executive said. “The fact a billionaire has come here and pours money on to the streets, destroying newspapers like ‘Ma’ariv’ and ‘Haaretz’ is an issue that has not received sufficient discussion. Adelson has simply brought ruin to the Israeli newspaper market, and the Israeli politicians who benefit from its flattering coverage, have allowed this unprecedented phenomenon to occur for partisan reasons, which as I said, has destroyed this market.”
Earlier on Monday, Adelson attended a fundraiser for Mitt Romney, as the presumed Republican nominee for president wrapped up his visit to Israel.