In a profile today of entertainment mogul David Geffen and his interest in buying the Los Angeles Times (last item linked, below), New York Times reporters Geraldine Fabrikant and Sharon Waxman write that the New York Times Co. has said the Boston Globe is not for sale.
Knowing that the Globe recently posted a correction for a similar assertion by columnist Steve Bailey, I thought a review was in order. See if you can make any sense of this:
“Times Co. has said repeatedly that the Globe, despite its continued poor financial results, is not for sale.” — Steve Bailey, Boston Globe, Oct. 25
“Because of a reporting error, a Page One story and headline yesterday about a group of local business executives exploring a bid to purchase the Globe incorrectly stated that The New York Times Co. has repeatedly said the paper is not for sale. Times Co. executives have not commented publicly on any potential sale of the Globe.” — Correction, Boston Globe, Oct. 26
“The New York Times Company says The Globe is not for sale.” — “Today in Business,” New York Times, Oct. 26
“Times Co. officials had no comment yesterday. In a memo to Globe employees, recently appointed publisher P. Steven Ainsley said federal securities laws prohibited Times Co. officials from commenting on potential mergers and acquisitions, regardless of whether the rumors ‘are true or not.'” — Robert Gavin, Boston Globe, Oct. 26
“Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The New York Times Company, said the company did not comment on potential acquisitions or sales. ‘We view The Globe as an important asset,’ she said.” — Landon Thomas Jr., New York Times, Nov. 2
“A Times Co. spokeswoman declined to comment, referring me to previous statements, which talked about the company’s commitment to growing Globe revenues, but acknowledging it is constantly reviewing its portfolio.” — Steve Bailey, Boston Globe, Nov. 3
“The New York Times Company, which owns The Globe, has said the paper is not for sale.” — Geraldine Fabrikant and Sharon Waxman, New York Times, Nov. 9
Here’s what it looks like to me: Whenever anyone actually asks someone at the Times Co. about the Globe, the response is a non-response. But whenever the urge strikes to stick in boilerplate language, the bit about the Globe’s not being for sale creeps in.