Ed Driscoll

If Only the New York Times had a Nobel Prize-Winning Economist on their Staff to Warn of Such Disasters

As Mark Steyn writes, the New York Times unloads the Boston Globe, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and other assorted Beantown-area journalistic assets and takes a bath in the process:

In my post below on  The New York Times’ sale of The Boston Globe, I quoted The Washington Post’s headline:

Red Sox owner John Henry enters into $70M agreement to buy The Boston Globe, once worth $1.1B

In fact, the sale also includes The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, for which the Times paid an additional $295 million 14 years ago. So a headline reflective of the real arithmetic would read:

Red Sox owner John Henry enters into $70M agreement to buy The Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram, once worth $1.4B

So the Times sold its Massachusetts properties for about five per cent of what it paid for them.

And as John Nolte writes at Big Journalism, the Times could have sold the Boston Globe for much more, but chose to go for a much lesser sale rather than risk the paper falling into the wrong ideological hands:

In 2011, the Times turned down a $300 million offer from Aaron Kushner, CEO of Freedom Communications, Inc., publisher of the Orange County Register and other newspapers in California. This offer even included the assumption of pension liabilities, which are currently estimated at $110 million.

The Times itself reports that today’s sale to Henry does not include pension liabilities. Apparently, those remain a Times’ responsibility and expense.

Instead, as Steyn writes at the Corner, “This analyst suggests Mr Henry bought the company’s real estate at market value, and got a couple of newspapers thrown in for free.” More from John Nolte:

In September of 2002, the Boston Globe enjoyed a circulation rate of 413,000. The average weekday circulation today is nearly half that: 230,351.

Other than plummeting circulation due to online competition, both the Times and Globe have been plagued by collapsing ad revenues that have only worsened in recent years. Friday the Times reported its 11th straight quarter of falling ad revenue.

Both the Globe and Times have and continue to strongly endorse and champion President Obama and his economic policies, even though those policies have failed to create the kind of economic growth necessary to create a boom in advertising spending. The future doesn’t look much brighter.

Long ago, the left boxed their thinking into a permanent malaise; to escape it, they’d need to return to the center. Instead, MSNBC pundits blame the collapse of a city that was in control of the left for half a century on alternately conservatives and libertarians. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) argues that “The bottom line is we’re not broke, there’s plenty of money, it’s just the government doesn’t have it.” (Which is yet another variation of “The Man is Hiding the Stash Fallacy.”) For the left to steer away from such blinkered sophistry would require arguing that their opponents have a point. Better to keep aiming towards the abyss and hoping for a last-minute miracle than surrender to to reality, apparently.

Related: “Politico Howler: ‘Glenn Beck’s Empire, Not Influence, Grows.’” Fox Butterfield, is that you?