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Friday, February 22, 2013
NewsBusters' Sheffield Knows Conservative Papers Need Sugar Daddies
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Feb. 21 NewsBusters post, Matthew Sheffield highlights the New York Times Co.'s intention to sell the Boston Globe, adding: "Now here would be a nice opportunity for a conservative billionaire to actually have a real asset instead of some junk mail and some worthless TV ads. Are you listening, guys?"

This is actually an extension of a January post in which Sheffield called for "top-dollar donors on the right" to invest in media properties that "can serve as intermediating institutions for our ideas to the masses" instead of 'TV campaign ads, junk mail, and white papers that no one ever reads."

These posts show that Sheffield is implicting acknowledging a proven fact: A conservative newspaper can't survive in the free market on its own and needs a sugar daddy.

The four most prominent conservative newspapers in the country -- the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, the New York Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- have been perpetual money pits, even when the newspaper industry as a whole was going gangbusters, that have been subsidized by wealthy, ideologically driven owners (or, in the case of the Post, subsidized by more profitable divisions of News Corp.).

This plight even afflicts conservative papers owned by for-profit conservative companies, as illustrated this week with the announcement by Eagle Publishing that it will either sell or close the weekly right-wing paper Human Events. If even a sympathetic right-wing publisher can't keep a right-wing paper alive, why would one get in the market now?

That's why Sheffield called for a "conservative billionaire" and not a for-profit company.

Sheffield also ignores that Boston already has a conservative newspaper in the Herald, which, yes, has been a perpetual money-loser (and, ironically, is printed and distributed by the Globe).

Sheffield's biggest obstacle to getting (more) right-wing billionaires to buy newspapers is convincing them they're not flushing money down a rathole given the current state of the newspaper industry as a whole and the historic financial performance of conservative papers. Which means that Sheffield needs to find some conservatives with more money than brains.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:34 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 8:37 PM EST

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