The Fine Print on Two Sales

I’m no expert in the newspaper business but it is interesting to look at the Post deal as well as the less-publicized but uglier Boston Globe deal. First, from the Post’s mega-story on their sale:

The sale to Bezos involves The Post and its Web site (washingtonpost.com), along with the Express newspaper, the Gazette Newspapers and Southern Maryland Newspapers in suburban Washington, the Fairfax County Times, the Spanish-language newspaper El Tiempo Latino, and the Robinson Terminal production plant in Springfield. Bezos will also purchase the Comprint printing operation in Gaithersburg, which produces several military publications.

The deal does not include the company’s headquarters on 15th Street NW (the building has been for sale since February) or Foreign Policy magazine, the Web sites Slate and the Root, the WaPo Labs digital development operation, or Post-owned land along the Potomac River in Alexandria.

(My bold.) Bezos bought everything that he needed to print the paper, as well as the metro area papers, which supply stories to the mother ship. He didn’t buy anything he didn’t strictly need to run the Post–those he left in care of the Post stockholders and the Graham family, who are now proud owners of a test-cramming company. If I worked at Slate, I’d be polishing my résumé .

The Bezos purchase overshadowed the news of the Globe sale to the billionaire owner of the Boston Red Sox, but let’s take a look at that, because it smells like a fire sale. The Times pocketed $70 million on the sale, but the Globe’s real estate in Boston is valued near that. Plus, the Times took the cash but kept the pension liabilities of the Globe, which are valued around $110 million, meaning the Globe sort-of sold for negative$40 million.  More detail here, but if I were the speculating kind, I’d start wondering what deep-pockets billionaire is going to snatch up the good parts of the Times company, including the paper, from the Sulzbergers. Bloomberg is going to need something to do after the election, to pick one possible buyer.






86 replies
  1. 1
    Keith G says:

    So what this seems to be reinforcing is that a lot of very wealthy people have a lot of cash just laying around.

    Damn our high tax rates. Damn them to hell!

  2. 2
    NickT says:

    Carlos Slim’s name has been mentioned quite a bit over the years where the NYT is concerned. I was a little surprised that Bezos didn’t want Slate. Still, if the contrarian-glibertarian axis doesn’t develop in that area, why should any of us complain?

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    The purchase buys Bezos influence in Washington in a less overt way than direct political donations would. Maybe that’s his interest.

  4. 4
    Belafon says:

    @Baud: “Jeff, we’ll sell you all the Washington state papers you want, as long as you take the Washington Post off our hands.”

  5. 5
    Keith G says:

    @NickT: Though a mixed bag, I value do some of the writing done on Slate. But then, I have never been much of a purest.

    If I stopped using media outlets that had mixed output, I might as well just stick to reading Bazooka Bubble Gum cartoons . Oh wait, I can’t read them either.

  6. 6
    NonyNony says:

    @NickT:

    I was a little surprised that Bezos didn’t want Slate.

    Why the hell would Bezos want Slate? If he wanted to own an online-only news magazine he could start one with the spare change off his dresser and probably have something competitive with Slate within a few months – especially if he gave free “subscriptions” away for Kindle users.

    He bought a megaphone to make people in Washington DC listen to him. He’s probably been very irritated about how the internet sales tax debate has been going for the past few months and realized that if he wants the DC cocktail set to respect his money and influence he needed to be a presence on the East Coast. Now they HAVE to listen to him because he owns the paper that all of their friends write opinion pieces for.

    I imagine that little of the paper’s editorial focus will change – Bezos is a corporate “libertarian” – a professed social liberal when it comes to people with money no matter the color of their skin, gender, or sexual orientation, but fuck people who have to work for a living and fuck people who think that taxes should pay for anything (despite the fact that without a publicly funded road system and a publicly funded mail-delivery system, the fucking business model that he built his little empire on disappears). He may be less interested in fucking over schools than Kaplan Test Prep Daily has been, but given his anti-labor and anti-tax stances, I doubt it – the transition will probably be quite smooth and unnoticeable if you don’t actually make the Georgetown cocktail circuit…

  7. 7
    Comrade Jake says:

    The benchmark for me is simply going to be if Jennifer Rubin continues to have a job at the WaPo.

  8. 8
    MomSense says:

    @Baud:

    I haven’t had time to look into this issue at all but I did hear something about local papers being part of the deal. If I were a corporate overlord and wanted to open service centers all over the country-I would be very interested in acquiring lots of local papers who would publish lots of awesome stories about jobs coming with new Amazon service center and ice cream socials and little league teams.

  9. 9
    jayackroyd says:

    Nice catch, MrM, on the Post details.

  10. 10
    mike with a mic says:

    I think a lot of people are way to conspiratorial about this.

    People in Washington already listen to him. He’s rich and socially liberal. The entire country has been moving to the right economically and to the left socially, this dude has just been rich enough to donate to both parties and to libertarian economic issues and socially libertine issues. Our Democratic president flies out to meet him and get advice from him, he doesn’t lower himself to fly out to meet the president, that’s below his station. If he says jump all of Washington says how high.

    He doesn’t need a paper to influence Washington, the centrists and Democrats already agree with his “let all the gays get married and kill social security” stance, the Republicans half agree with it, and all of them worship him.

    What this does get him is a major and respected news team for his own distribution. He has the kindle, he has Amazon video, and he’s expanding. What’s valuable there is a slew of exclusive content, which is why hulu/amazon/netflix are all in holy wars over content right now. People have talked about the news being bought up and made exclusive as a new front in that mess, this may just have been the first shot.

  11. 11
    jayackroyd says:

    David Cay Johnston has a good, if somewhat polemical, piece on the sale and the Future of Journalism.

    http://www.nationalmemo.com/wa.....ublishing/

    Also has a bit of NYT speculation.

  12. 12
    aretino says:

    With the Globe sale fresh in my mind, my first reaction was that Bezos overpaid for the Post, big time. It turns out that’s my second reaction, too.

  13. 13
    Redshirt says:

    To put things into proper perspective, John Henry just agreed to a contract with Dustin Pedroia for about 100 million.

  14. 14
    jayackroyd says:

    @mike with a mic:
    The country has NOT been moving to the right. Even Ezra has figured this out:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....he-center/

  15. 15
    jayackroyd says:

    @Redshirt:
    I think the Globe purchase was indeed partly about keeping a good sports paper in town, one that will support the Olde Towne Team. The sports biz/sports page symbiosis is underappreciated.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    @Redshirt: Pedroia has had a better year than the Globe.

  17. 17
    Mino says:

    Can he save postal delivery?

  18. 18
    raven says:

    Former President George W. Bush, 67, has had a stent placed in a heart artery to clear a blockage, his office said today.

  19. 19
    Shakezula says:

    as well as the metro area papers, which supply stories to the mother ship.

    I’ve seen no evidence of this. In fact, I forgot the Post owned the Gazettes.

    What this does get him is a major and respected news team for his own distribution.

    Snort.

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    NonyNony

    He’s probably been very irritated about how the internet sales tax debate has been going for the past few months and realized that if he wants the DC cocktail set to respect his money and influence he needed to be a presence on the East Coast.

    Amazon has also been a major cheerleader for an internet sales tax, which the Post‘s editorial board also backed.
    [snip]
    …Amazon has been involved in various antitrust lawsuits over the years, in particular on the matter of pricing for ebooks. Buying the Post could give Bezos a megaphone in D.C. should his company become entangled with the Justice Department. Source

    Also, this piece at Forbes highlights several cogent points.

  21. 21
    Mino says:

    And is Time ripe for “Baining” to get rid of all those pension obligations?

  22. 22
    mike with a mic says:

    @jayackroyd:

    Policy wise and among the people who count we sure have. The opinions of the majority and what they want on economics frankly don’t count. What you and I want for taxes and social security and regulation does not count, and nobody who’s worth anything or anyone gives one crap about would ever give a shit what we think.

    So it really doesn’t matter. You don’t like chained CPI, tough shit you don’t count as a human, the people that do want it. Thus the policy for chained CPI will happen, and the only thing you can do about it is gnash your teeth impotently and join the wailing of the worthless.

    You may not like it, but that’s where we are.

  23. 23
    Eric U. says:

    there is no Amazon tie-in to this deal, so I’m not sure how much interaction there will be. I wouldn’t have bought Slate either. Never did understand how web pages become valuable, I thought that idea should have died back in 2000

  24. 24
    Mike in NC says:

    @raven:

    Former President George W. Bush, 67, has had a stent placed in a heart artery to clear a blockage, his office said today.

    Damn. I misread that as a stake placed in his heart.

  25. 25
    scav says:

    Everyone’s focus is on the big un, but the locals are there too, and the means for printing them. There was selection involved, I doubt these are entirely random make-weight pieces. Could a big player, what could a big player with national reach and a kindle channel do to support and alter local papers? Doesn’t look like he’s given up entirely on the printing (probably good over the short haul given habits), but we’ve got venues for local information now in a one-step connection to lots of advertising, other sales etc information and national scope. Could local papers serve as portals, geographically detemined windows into the maelstrom? Filtering done based on communities rather than individuals? From the point of view of the big advertisers, this might be a little less hit and miss than national campaigns, especially for companies with bricks.

    The other thing I wonder a little about is newspapers have distribution channels. Could an Amazon box show up under the hydrangea after a bad throw?

  26. 26
    NotMax says:

    @raven

    The operation must have taken longer than usual, adding in the time spent finding his heart.

  27. 27
    Redshirt says:

    @MikeJ: I think its hilarious/sad that a single baseball player is worth more than one of the world’s leading newspapers. Sums up our times pretty well, I think.

  28. 28
    scav says:

    @scav: I know there’s no official Amazon connection, but that is rather what Bezos has been working with and there may be reasons to keeps experimentation separate and distinct.

  29. 29
    me says:

    Bloomberg is going to need something to do after the election, to pick one possible buyer.

    Well, anybody, save maybe the Koch brothers, would be better than Rupert.

  30. 30
    maya says:

    @Mino: “And is Time ripe for “Baining” to get rid of all those pension obligations? ”

    Paging Junior Doctors Romney, paging Junior Doctors Romney. Pension Transplant O R, stet.

  31. 31
    handsmile says:

    @NonyNony:

    Very shrewd comment about Bezos’ possible motivations for this purchase and its editorial impact.

    On the subject, I’m eager to read the thoughts of Harold Meyerson, a grossly underappreciated columnist for the Post and the only one who regularly writes about labor issues. I would think his future employment would be far more in doubt than that of the paper’s notorious neocon scribes.

    @jayackroyd:

    Thanks for the link to David Cay Johnston! His perspective is rarely less than invaluable.

  32. 32
    raven says:

    @NotMax: whoo hoo!

  33. 33
    eric says:

    Mike with a mic is correct…this strikes me as the age old “synergies” and vertical integration, where he owns the content and the delivery system. I would expect a much better electronic product with Amazon based “advertising” so that even if the Post operates at low profits, it brings sales to the much more profitable Amazon platform, so it is a net win.

  34. 34
    Kay says:

    @NonyNony:

    For-profit colleges are hurting, though. They blame regulation, but that’s nonsense. The new regulations that went in in 2009 were weakened as soon as they got to the rule-writing stage at the DOE.
    I think they’re hurting because they destroyed their own brand. We used to have a regular parade of people thru here who had been ripped off. It’s slowed to a trickle (although the first group are still stuck with tons of debt that can’t be discharged, ever)
    Reputation matters. It eventually catches up.
    As far as public school privatization, IMO the NYT is the lead cheerleader. I think it’s connected to their Bloomberg lust.
    The WaPo actually has an olde-timey ed reporter, Valerie Straus. They stuck her on a blog, but she’s experienced, smart and therefore difficult to bamboozle with stories of “miracle” schools and irrational score gains. Most of those evaporate under even cursory analysis.
    I hope they don’t fire her. She is IT for national papers, as in ONE person.

  35. 35
    MattF says:

    @NotMax: I’m very dubious that anything published by Forbes is cogent– considering that it’s owned and operated by a somewhat loony rich guy.

    And, yeah, I think Bezos falls into the category of ‘somewhat loony rich guy’, although it’s fair to point out that he’s an actual capitalist, unlike Steve Forbes. Given that the alternatives for the WaPo were pretty bad (sell to Murdoch? Ew.) sellilng to Bezos is not so bad. And if they fire Sally Quinn, I’ll be happy.

  36. 36
    Barry says:

    @Comrade Jake: “The benchmark for me is simply going to be if Jennifer Rubin continues to have a job at the WaPo. ”

    I think that she will – her main focus is bombing Muslims, and supporting Likkud, and war in general.

    Those are beliefs which Bezos can probably tolerate quite nicely, because they don’t interfere with his business, or his (likely) neoliberal/’libertarian’/looting ideals.

  37. 37

    WaPo will not change much. I used to read it when I lived in the DC area, now no more. The op-ed page is like a retirement home for war criminals and their apologists. Is the poor man’s Bobo, Gerson still there?

  38. 38

    @raven:

    Former President George W. Bush, 67, has had a stent placed in a heart artery to clear a blockage, his office said today.

    So he needed microsurgery, eh?

  39. 39

    @Kay: If reputation matters why are the ratings agencies still in business?p

    ETA: I am talking about S&P 500, Moody’s etc

  40. 40
    ericblair says:

    @MomSense:

    If I were a corporate overlord and wanted to open service centers all over the country-I would be very interested in acquiring lots of local papers who would publish lots of awesome stories about jobs coming with new Amazon service center and ice cream socials and little league teams.

    There’s also a more specific use for federal contracting. Every federal organization (not just the CIA) is interested in cloud computing services and Amazon is one of the biggest players. When you submit proposals to the government, you’re strictly limited on format and length, and any attempt at ex parte communication to the source selection committee can easily get you disqualified. However, if you advertise to the entire DC metro area, this is not considered ex parte communication even though your real target audience is a dozen people. If you’ve listed to DC news radio and you’ve heard bizarre breathless ads for new helicopters and weapons systems that are pretty much incomprehensible to anybody outside the biz, that’s what that is. Now Bezos has a permanent platform for that, and considering the expected size of these proposals that’s worth millions right there.

  41. 41
    MattF says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Gerson, Thiessen, Will, Krauthammer, Cohen, Hiatt, Lane, Samuelson, Rubin, Quinn… Sigh.

  42. 42
    Kay says:

    @NonyNony:

    General P’s wife is still going after for-profit colleges and the GI Bill (they target recently discharged soldiers for the GI Bill ed money)
    Whatever one thinks of him, she’s a very dogged and determined advocate.
    She was just back at it in July. Dick Durbin is her Senate ally. For-profits have some very well-connected lobbyists, from both sides of the aisle.

  43. 43

    @MomSense: Latest report about the situation with three kittehs and the chipmunk? I was in stitches reading your updates from yesterday.

  44. 44
    Joel says:

    @Keith G: Three words: “Creed Is Good“.

  45. 45
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Well, I would say that they aren’t consumer companies. People talk to one another, and for-profit colleges target a very specific demo.
    Again, this is anecdotal, but we had a crush of real horror stories. My sense is that got around. Some EXTREMELY unhappy customers.
    I like to think we helped. We’ll follow them out to the parking lot to talk them out of it. Once they borrow the money they’re on the hook for life and we’re going to see them again. We can’t do a thing for them at that point.

  46. 46

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    If reputation matters why are the ratings agencies still in business?

    Because they’re paid by the people they’re rating. You might as well ask why a prostitute is still in business despite her reputation for moral looseness.

  47. 47
    Joel says:

    @jayackroyd: Just look at Gammons, and Will McDonough before him. Unofficial spokesmen for the Boston Red Sox. Michael Holley was, for a while, Bill Belichick’s unofficial spokesman.

    The Globe has trimmed down everything but sports. Even when they were doing well, it was the sports section that floated their boat.

  48. 48
    catclub says:

    @eric: ” much more profitable Amazon platform”
    Amazon is not profitable. It is large. It is the bane of any other merchant, because it is willing to lose money killing their business. But it is not profitable. Matt Yglesias points out that Amazon nonetheless has an absurdly high stock value, given how unprofitable it is, and that no thoer company seems to be given this leeway.

    I think Bezos bought WAPO simply as a favor to a friend. No particular strategy, and no particular changes to editorial policy.

  49. 49
    Redshirt says:

    @Joel: The clock is ticking on Shaughnessy.

  50. 50
    catclub says:

    @ericblair: Makes no sense. If he runs an ad in someone else’s
    newspaper, that would be considered ok – since it is now SOP for defense contractors. If he runs an editorial in his own paper pushing his bid, that will be considered
    much closer to being out of bounds ex parte contact.

  51. 51

    @Kay: @Roger Moore: I think market discipline would work if the pension funds which have to depend on the rating agencies set up their own rating agency. I wonder why that hasn’t happened yet. We need a Federal Agency like the the FDA for securities.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven:

    Oh, great. More medical resources diverted from the deserving to war criminals.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    If I was relying on a pension from the Boston Globe, I’d be pretty worried right now.

  54. 54
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    My husband keeps returning to that question, too. He doesn’t know why pension managers don’t use their enormous clout.
    I don’t know as much about it as he does, but it bothers me, because the question is are they captured- compromised too?
    Lord. No wonder people are scared and paranoid.

  55. 55
    ericblair says:

    @catclub:

    Makes no sense. If he runs an ad in someone else’s newspaper, that would be considered ok – since it is now SOP for defense contractors. If he runs an editorial in his own paper pushing his bid, that will be considered much closer to being out of bounds ex parte contact.

    Sure it would be OK to put an ad in someone else’s newspaper, it would just cost him. Here he could run Technology section articles on the great things Amazon is doing. As far as what’s ex parte contact, IANAL but my understanding is that it solely depends on the targeting of the ad and not who owns the vehicle that’s doing it. This certainly wouldn’t justify buying the WaPost by itself, but would be part of the benefits.

  56. 56

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Part of the problem is that the ratings from one of the big ratings agencies have legal force. Current regulations on reserve requirements let banks cover their reserve requirements with securities rather than cash, provided that the securities are high enough rated and discounted appropriately depending on their rating. That means investors have to think about the ratings whether or not they believe them, and it obviously creates an extra incentive for corruption.

    There are certainly things we could do that would improve the situation. As it is, there’s an implied threat for a bank to stop doing business with a ratings agency that doesn’t do its bidding on the ratings. Simply assigning the ratings assignments randomly would remove the business threat and make the system a lot more evenhanded. It would also be good to create some kind of league table showing how well the ratings did in practice, so there would be some kind of objective evidence if one of the ratings companies was assigning ratings with a random number generator.

  57. 57

    @Kay: I don’t know the answer to that, something I am going to investigate. This is one area where I depart from being an Obot. Obama had a golden opportunity in 2009 to put the financial genie back into its bottle and he did not take that opportunity to reshape the capital markets. The rumors about Summers nomination is also disquieting.

  58. 58

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Obama Congress had a golden opportunity in 2009 to put the financial genie back into its bottle and he they did not take that opportunity to reshape the capital markets.

    FTFY. Congress took on the task of reforming the capital markets, and we got Dodd-Frank. I think it’s up to people who want to accuse Obama of failure on this point to specify what he could have done to get substantially better legislation through Congress.

  59. 59
    MomSense says:

    @ericblair:

    That is a great point.

  60. 60
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Whatever the merits of Summers substantively, it’s the same old thing. The “real” economy doesn’t matter. Peoples’ faith in the game not being rigged doesn’t matter. If “markets” are comfortable with Summers, we must bow.
    It matters if he’s discredited. I don’t give a shit if it’s “unfair” and I don’t give a shit about how he has a great relationship with 31 powerful people in DC. If the “real” economy doesn’t trust him, that should bar his appointment.
    We need “certainty” too.

  61. 61
    Yatsuno says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I think it’s up to people who want to accuse Obama of failure on this point to specify what he could have done to get substantially better legislation through Congress.

    Bully pulpit, natch. If Obummer had REALLY wanted true financial regulation he would have tried for it!

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    There are some people in Congress who would have done something. But they were outnumbered by those who are wholly owned by the criminal filth of Wall Street, for example, the asshat Schumer.

  63. 63

    @Roger Moore: Obama could have appointed people who were not friends of Wall Street to key positions in the Treasury and chosen better economic advisors than the friends of deregulation Clinton folks. I do agree with your point about Congress.

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kay:

    The “real” economy doesn’t matter. Peoples’ faith in the game not being rigged doesn’t matter. If “markets” are comfortable with Summers, we must bow.

    Adam Smith is revolving at high speed in his grave right now. If only we could tap the energy…

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kay:

    The “real” economy doesn’t matter. Peoples’ faith in the game not being rigged doesn’t matter. If “markets” are comfortable with Summers, we must bow.

    Adam Smith is revolving at high speed in his grave right now. If only we could tap the energy…

  66. 66
    Tripod says:

    Assuming rich guy entrepreneur has competency outside of his core business (or at all) can be problematic.

  67. 67

    @Kay: Plus there is that little remark about how women are not talented enough to do science, that is bothersome.

  68. 68
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    In a small town law practice, with difficult cases, cases that drag on, people sometimes switch lawyers.

    They’re doing that sometimes because the lawyer is incompetent or a bad fit, but often it’s just a loss of faith in the lawyer’s approach. Understandable, right? They want a fresh set of eyes. It happens to all of us. They’re no.longer taking advice because this thing is just OVER, so they SHOULD switch.

    The thing is, you don’t whine about that. Is it “unfair”? Sure. But it isn’t really about YOU. Your ego is not the main concern here.

    That’s what bugs me about Summers. Step aside. No one has any trust in you.

  69. 69

    @Kay: I have also yet to see any sign of his alleged intelligence, when it comes to his policy prescriptions.

  70. 70

    “Poppa” Doug Manchester and Jeff Light, who bought the San Diego papers, are pissed that they offered more money for the Globe but they took Henry’s cash offer instead so they’re trying to rile up the sharholders to block the deal (or alternately get some cash back). Jackalopes.

  71. 71
    PeakVT says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’m not a big Matt Y fan, but this piece on Summers was pretty good (though the shorter is he’s an asshole, which I already knew).

  72. 72
    aretino says:

    @catclub: Amazon is not profitable. It is large. It is the bane of any other merchant, because it is willing to lose money killing their business. But it is not profitable. Matt Yglesias points out that Amazon nonetheless has an absurdly high stock value, given how unprofitable it is, and that no thoer company seems to be given this leeway.

    In terms of where its profit comes from, Amazon is not a merchant. It is a cloud-computing service provider and a pass-through portal for other merchants with its own retail business on the side. Those two profit-generating parts of the business are growing much faster than the retail business. Investors are betting that they will continue to grow fast and generate high profit margins. Not sure I agree (I would own a bunch of the stock even at current prices if I thought that was a sure thing), but then, a decade or so ago I didn’t think Amazon would even still be around at this point.

  73. 73

    @PeakVT: I saw that too. What do you thinking of all the Summers pimping Brad DeLong is doing? Makes me question his judgment. Although he may be doing it out of selfish motives since he has co-authored many papers with Summers.

  74. 74
    aretino says:

    @Eric U.: I wouldn’t have bought Slate either. Never did understand how web pages become valuable, I thought that idea should have died back in 2000
    That’s why I was sure in 2000 that Amazon itself wasn’t going to make it. But it turns out that browsing behavior isn’t infinitely flexible, even if there is no cost to changing pages. Behavior is sticky, consumers will limit there own choices if it isn’t done for them, and so there is a significant (if not permanent) first-mover advantage on the web.

    That said, I’m not sure Slate ever had an audience to lose.

  75. 75
    WereBear says:

    @raven: So much for maniacal exercising keeping your heart healthy.

    But then, Bush the Lesser was not known for activities to keep his heart metaphysically healthy, was he?

  76. 76
    PeakVT says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: The lengths DeLong has gone to in this latest attempt to land Larry a job are comical. But I’ve thought DeLong has pretty shitty judgment for a while, so it doesn’t change anything for me.

    ETA: Here’s a piece on Summers from someone whose economic judgment deserves respect.

  77. 77
    MomSense says:

    @Yatsuno:

    I don’t know if you were following the Massachusetts Senate Race but I was making calls into Mass so I was really watching it closely. Scott Brown raked in a ton of cash from the banking industry. Even though he was running against Obamacare publicly, I do think his other main focus was to weaken Dodd Frank. That is exactly what happened. I’m not saying Dodd Frank was great to start with but getting Brown’s 60th vote meant stripping some good provisions out of the bill.

  78. 78
    Jay says:

    Are the Koch brothers still in the hunt to buy the LA Times?

    THAT would be the scariest newspaper purchase of all.

  79. 79
    different-church-lady says:

    I’m just hoping Henry trades Dan Shaughnessy for a couple of draft picks.

  80. 80
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I don’t think there is a real understanding of how profound the financial crisis was for people.

    I find that really unsettling, because it’s clueless. If they are THAT out of touch, what else are they missing?

    I think we need some kind of reckoning, some big national discussion on what just happened to us. I’m bothered by my sense that a lot of powerful people don’t want to do that, because it calls their judgment into question.

  81. 81
    Yatsuno says:

    Fix. The. God. Damned. Blog. Dammit.

  82. 82

    @Kay: I agree with what you are saying. Obama administration has been tone deaf on this issue. They are better than any Republican administration would have been but that is a very low bar. Did you see the Inside Job?

  83. 83
    Peter K. says:

    “I’m no expert in the newspaper business but..”

    “If I worked at Slate, I’d be polishing my résumé .”

    What a dick.

  84. 84
    dr. luba says:

    Borowitz has figured it all out:

    Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, told reporters today that his reported purchase of the Washington Post was a “gigantic mix-up,” explaining that he had clicked on the newspaper by mistake.

    “I guess I was just kind of browsing through their website and not paying close attention to what I was doing,” he said. “No way did I intend to buy anything.”

    Mr. Bezos said he had been oblivious to his online shopping error until earlier today, when he saw an unusual charge for two hundred and fifty million dollars on his American Express statement.

    …..Mr. Bezos said he had been on the phone with the Post’s customer service for the better part of the day trying to unwind his mistaken purchase, but so far “they’ve really been giving me the runaround.”

  85. 85
    dww44 says:

    @NotMax: Of all the disagreements, policy wise, that I had with GWB and his administration, NOT having a heart was not one of them. Compared to what has followed him within the GOP, his heart seems relatively big and way more tolerant. Honestly think that Laura has been a great influence on him. After all, she was once a liberal Democrat, Texas version, herself.

  86. 86
    PeakVT says:

    @dww44: Bush may have had a big heart (debatable) but all he did with that was tell himself he was a great guy. His policies were pretty much the opposite.

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