Is Newsweek for sale once again? That’s what show business bible Variety is reporting tonight:
Newsweek appears to be on the block — again.
According to sources who have been briefed, IAC is sending out inquiries to prospective buyers who may be interested in purchasing the 80-year-old title, which ended weekly publication of its domestic edition late last year in favor of an digital-only format. A revamped Newsweek.com launched earlier this month.
A spokeswoman for IAC had no comment.
As with the first sale of Newsweek, the price is expected to be negligible; what will matter more is the assumption of liabilities, although Newsweek is a much pared-down operation.
IAC obtained its stake in Newsweek after it merged the Daily Beast with the venerable publication in 2010, under an agreement with investor Sidney Harman, who had recently bought the magazine from the Washington Post.
But all signs are that the publication — which the Washington Post Co. sold for $1 and assumption of liabilities — has been a stepchild to the Daily Beast.
IAC’s Barry Diller last month signaled his unhappiness with the purchase, telling Bloomberg TV that “it was a mistake” to buy the publication and a “fool’s errand if that magazine is a news weekly.” While praising the journalists who work there, he said that he did “not have great expectations” for the digital product.
Can’t say I blame him. Even before it alienated its remaining reader (note singular tense) when it declared that “We Are All Socialists Now,” in celebration of Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Newsweek, under the aegis of the Washington Post had worked very hard to ruin its brand name; the current regime is still paying for the sins committed under the Newsweek imprimatur during the transition in 2007 and 2008 from Bush to Obama. A transition the magazine’s management labored diligently to secure at the expense of fair, let alone readable journalism.
Meanwhile, another venerable title which has similarly long thought that capitalism has cooties is having its own financial death throes: Warner Todd Huston of Big Journalism spots “Progressive Newspaper Village Voice Circling the Drain.”
Perhaps the long overdue karmic price has finally come due for its former executive management team’s racialist-tinged rhetoric.