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The AJC's Mini-Me 

The daily imitates CL -- but not too well

Page 3 of 3

And it's not just national and world affairs. In Atlanta, Cox isn't just the voice of the establishment. It is The Establishment. The elite and wealthy are protected on its pages. Don't look in the AJC for the news that Andy Young is on the board of a gold mining company accused of burying miners alive in Africa. And certainly don't seek reports that Cox matron Anne Cox Chambers' fortune shrunk by $1.8 billion last year.

So, to stop the newest drain of readers -- especially ones that trend young -- the scheme is Mini-Me. It's another lap in the race to monopoly. Cox has a history of eliminating media voices, even killing profitable newspapers it owns if the money is right.

Chambers and her billionaire sister would like an Atlanta totally beholden to the Coxopoly. It owns the largest TV station in town, the biggest radio station and a formidable website -- not to mention, regrettably, a quarter of us.

With Mini-Me, however, the AJC is hardly original. Dailies in Miami, Chicago and other cities have tried to cook up competition to the alternative weekly papers. None has been much of a success. Critics have scoffed at the bloodless, soulless creations. The authentic alternatives haven't suffered.

And, what's wonderfully ironic, Mini-Me is essentially an endorsement of CL and an indictment of the AJC. Ben Eason says, "If Rich's can buy an ad in their little [Mini-Me] for $2,000 and reach the young readers, why the hell should Rich's keep buying $15,000 ads in the daily each day to reach grandma and grandpa as well as the handful of young readers who still pick up the daily?" More important, why bother with Mini-Me's ersatz trendiness when Rich's -- and, much more important, readers -- can get the real thing with CL?

Mini-Me also makes our point that "free" isn't an issue if people pick up, read and use the paper -- as they do with CL.

So, zip it, Mini-Me. You're a fraud and your masters can't spell the word "ethics." We're free and you're still enslaved.

Senior Editor John Sugg owns stock in CL's parent company. "Yeah," Sugg says, "this column is self-serving as hell. You want to make something of it, huh?" He can be reached while letting the air out of Cox executives' tires, or at 404-614-1241 or at john.sugg@creativeloafing.com.

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