“Rupert Murdoch, not often an outsider when it comes to knowledge of media deals, told the world Friday that he has ‘strong word’ that Tribune Publishing’s newspaper group is going to be acquired and that it will split off the Los Angeles Times in the process,” reports USA Today.
But a number of major newspapers – including the Murdoch-owned Wall St. Journal – did not see the tweet to be as newsworthy as USA Today, and had not reported on it more than 12 hours after Murdoch sent the tweet on Friday afternoon.
Besides the Wall St. Journal, The New York Times and the Washington Post carried no word about the tweet on their websites. Likewise, the tweet was ignored by the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune news properties.
One reason so many news outlets ignored Murdoch’s tweet could be this from California’s Orange County Register: “Murdoch, 84, is known for enthusiastic and unfiltered tweeting, but he may not always get his facts right. In 2004, Murdoch reportedly tipped off the New York Post, which he also owns, that Rep. Dick Gephardt would be John Kerry’s vice-presidential running mate. The Post printed the false rumor.”
Indeed, the Register’s story about the Murdoch tweet also says, “Wall Street analysts expressed doubts that any financial firm would want to buy the publishing company. Moreover, they said, if any firm were interested, it would not want to spin off the Los Angeles Times, Tribune’s flagship newspaper.”
Notes the Los Angeles Business Journal about Murdoch’s tweet: [Eli] Broad said through a spokeswoman that he declined to comment. He did not directly deny the claim.” Broad, who, according to Forbes, has a net worth more than $7 billion, is a longtime booster of Los Angeles, has tried to buy the L.A. Times before, but was rebuffed.
A number of outlets that did report about Murdoch’s tweet, including CNN, noted that Tribune also declined to comment about the tweet.
In a second tweet Murdoch wrote that he did not bid for any of the Tribune newspapers.
Notes the USA Today story, Tribune “has been making moves lately that are consistent with trying to maximize value of an asset before a sale. Tribune said recently that its workforce will shrink by 7% following a buyout of employees. Many of them were at the Times, where there was an exodus of some of the paper’s top editorial staff.
“Plus, there has been plenty of friction between the Times and Tribune. In September, Tribune fired the publisher of the Times, Austin Beutner. That same month, the Financial Times reported that Broad was rebuffed in an attempt to buy the Times”.
To read a detailed account of the friction between Tribune and its flagship L.A. Times, please click here, which will take you to a New York Times story from September.