Catching up on the Olympics coverage this morning, I was struck by a close-up shot of an equestrian rider, his hands resting loosely on the reins of his mount. At this level of competition, some would say that the rider and the mount are one. Of course they are not. They are two creatures trying to obtain the same goal.
The analogy might be better understood if we discussed two dancers, one experienced and one inexperienced. The experienced dancer will rest their hands lightly on the hands or body of their partner, while the inexperienced dancer will be gripping tightly. There is no question, when we discuss dancers, of one mind. There is no question of one of the partners being a tool of the other.
Such a discussion would be insulting and would be dismissed.
In analogy, the reins at the Tribune Co. rest in the hands of some inexperienced riders. The rider is being bucked as editors and workers continue to resist the moves of the rider, in particular of Lee Abrams, but also of Randy Michaels. And Abrams, in particular, is rubbing his ass, as he is bucked again, wondering what is wrong with the mount?
I submit that it is not the mount, which is after all making a profit even in this down market, but an inexperienced rider. Abrams will not be able to successfully lead if he continues to resist the advice of people who understand the business better. The satellite radio business has not been such a rousing success that we can immediately assume that he has lessons to transfer to the newspaper business. And the thin-skinned Abrams is not only unable to internalize this lesson; he is defensive about his abilities.