The New York Times just sold the Boston Globe for 70 million dollars to John Henry, the owner of the Boston Red Sox. They had received bids as high as 100 million but Henry’s bid was all in cash. The Times had bought the Globe in 1993 for a then record 1.1 billion dollars, meaning they took a loss of 1.03 billion dollars. But hold the boat. The Times also has to honor retirements worth 100 million dollars and 70 million today would have been 43,260,000 in 1993. That means figuring in the inflation value, the NYT took a 1.15674 billion dollar bath.
Newsweek is also for sale for the third time in less than 5 years. The selling price? 1 dollar. If someone is foolish enough to buy it, it will be the third time it has sold for that price. The new owner would also take on a mountain of debt. I don’t think a third time is going to be a charm.
The Tribune Company is selling the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, along with seven other less prestigious papers. Liberals are beside themselves as the only serious bidder is the Koch Brothers. Unions representing Tribune workers are especially antsy, since the Koch Bros. do not think the large pensions are a good thing and they have written to current owners, urging them not to sell to the Koch’s. But money talks.
Hilariously, detractors are worried that the papers would be too partisan. That’s a lie, they have been extremely partisan for decades. They just don’t want them becoming less partisan or partisan towards the right.
For many years, these and other outlets have followed a rigid path of liberalism and they are paying a heavy price. They put ideology over profits and now are staring bankruptcy in the face. Their employees’ pensions could disappear or be sharply curtailed by the impending bankruptcy of Newsweek. Couldn’t happen to a better group of people.
Steven Ahle is the Editor of Red Statements and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.