By Jon Schleuss
Earlier today, I wrote to Randall D. Smith, a Tribune director and the principal of Alden Global Capital, urging him to condemn the recent assault on the U.S. Capitol by the supporters of President Donald J. Trump. I also called on him to denounce the president for inciting that assault, to condemn the attack on journalists perpetuated by the rioters and the president; and to apologize for his financial support of Trump.
Mr. Smith and his wife contributed $100,000 in 2019 to the Trump Victory Fund in August 2019.
Smith has major media interests through Alden Global Capital’s 70% ownership stake in MediaNews Group and its 31.6% stake in Tribune Publishing. Alden also owns 1.8% of Gannett Co. and 5.9% of Lee Enterprises. The hedge fund tried unsuccessfully to purchase McClatchy Co. in August 2020, with plans to cut hundreds of journalists from local news.
It’s absolutely unimaginable that Smith would continue to stand by someone who incited an insurrection and has attacked journalists and factual news for the last five years.
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: The Smiths’ donations, as is customary these days with large contributions, were made to “Trump Victory,” a joint fundraising committee that under new campaign finance laws provides a convenient way to circumvent contribution limits.
The donations came two weeks after then-presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled proposed legislation aimed at making hedge funds and private equity firms more transparent and accountable.
Smith did not donate to Trump’s 2016 efforts — in fact, he seemed to support “anyone but Trump,” giving only a few smaller donations to Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. According to public records, Smith hasn’t made any other significant donations since giving to Trump in 2019.
This story appeared earlier on The NewsGuild website. — JULIE REYNOLDS
Photo: Uprising against Alden in Denver, courtesy of John Leyba.