The suits who cut the deal from hell that likely will put The Salt Lake Tribune as we know it on the autopsy slab, responded this week to a lawsuit filed by a group of local citizens who hope to give the paper a fighting chance. (It's complicated but you can get a 90-second summary here.)

Digital First Media CEO John Paton, who heads up the New York-based hairball of hedgefund shell companies that got control of The Tribune and several other papers nationwide, says he has no plans to close The Trib. The deal that sold off the Trib’s presses and deprives it of 70 percent of the money it makes with the Deseret News was an investment in the Tribune’s future, he says. (It's worth noting that the DN reporter on the article did not contact the opposing side to find out what they thought.)

Joan O'Brien, a former Trib reporter who is leading the fight to save it, told the Trib: "How is The Tribune’s viability ensured by a contract that cuts its revenues in half? How is its voice strengthened when the Deseret News has control over the entity that produces and distributes the newspapers? And how can anyone argue The Tribune enjoys editorial independence when the Deseret News holds a unilateral veto power over any ownership change?"

Clark Gilbert, Sith Lord of the Deseret News who brokered the deal kept secret from the people who actually run the Tribune, swears  “the Salt Lake City community is benefitted by the presence of diverse editorial voices, including the Salt Lake Tribune.” 

Gilbert would have been more honest had he said he believes SLC is benefitted by a publication with the name “Tribune” on it— but no longer independent in any real sense. Think "puppet" publication. This year’s Saturday’s Voyeur summed up the relationship Gilbert has in mind succinctly: "the Trib is the Deseret News’ prison bitch.” 

The comments on the story at the DNews website—which are accepted or rejected by the DNews—are probably close to what Gilbert and his overlords say behind closed doors.