Washington Post Gives Newsweek Away

Poor Newsweek! A year or so ago, editor Jon Meacham announced that the venerable news magazine would become a journal of liberal opinion, in hopes of vitalizing its sagging circulation. That didn’t exactly work–it turns out that very few Americans think they are suffering from a shortage of liberal opinion. Today, the Washington Post, Newsweek’s owner, announced that it is selling the magazine to 91-year-old Sidney Harman, the stereo magnate, for $1. That, plus his assumption of Newsweek’s considerable debts.
The Strata-Sphere has the sad story:

[I]n a fascinating twist, the Post appears to have several offers that were much better than this, offers which would have given their own shareholders a much better return on these assets and on all the money that’s been wasted this past year. So why did they turn down those offers and instead, make their own shareholders take a beating by giving Newsweek away for free? Because those nasty high bidders might have actually fired some employees and CHANGED the editorial direction of the Magazine! We can’t have that, oh heaven forbid, we can’t have that! So better to take a huge loss and auger this entire operation into the dirt before even considering whether maybe, just maybe, they’ve been doing things wrong. …

I hadn’t realized that Harman is married to Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman. So the Post is, so to speak, keeping Newsweek in the family. For the time being, at least; it is hard to imagine that Sidney Harman or anyone else will continue pumping money into Newsweek for long.

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