From Slim to None: Who Doubts That Obama Would Bail Out The New York Times?

By Jon Kraushar Communications Consultant

Place your bets: who wants to wager that if The New York Timesgoes bust its very own American Idol President Obama would pause a second before bailing out his personal public relations periodical?

For now, the publisher of the financially tottering old Gray Lady has just been given a $250 million shot of Geritol by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim ("tortilla money" for him, according to one expert on Latin America). However the loan comes at a steep price for The New York Times Company--it has to pay companies owned by Slim 14 percent interest. The warrants in the deal could raise Slim's pickings in stock of The New York Times Company to a potential 18% stake from the 6.9% of the newspaper publisher he currently owns.

But if Slim tires of the fun of funding his prestigious plaything and the publisher's finances head south of the border of solvency, does anyone believe that President Obama and all the liberals in Congress would hesitate for a heartbeat to throw a federal bailout lifeline to the liberal-loving New York Times Company?

Wikipedia reports that, "In mid-2004, the newspaper's then public editor (aka ombudsman), Daniel Okrent, wrote a piece in which he concluded that The Times did have a liberal bias in coverage of certain social issues such as gay marriage." Various polls or surveys have found the public agrees that The New York Times has a liberal slant; but this is hotly disputed by many journalists and others.

Certainly the preservation of a "free and vigorous press," the horror of letting a worldwide newspaper icon go under, and dozens of other "egad" liberal rationales would be the rallying cries justifying the use of taxpayer money to prop up The New York Times Company and its flagship publication. The company's share price has dropped 70% in the past year, Standard Poor's rates its debt as "junk," and it had a mere $46 million in cash on its balance sheet at the end of September.

Of course, if Obama and his Congressional allies add The New York Times to their list of essential government rescue projects, we the people--the little people whose money bails out companies that are too big or too important to fail--don't have a vote.

Or do we? If The New York Times Company faced financial collapse would you want your tax dollars applied to a government bailout to save it, if that's what the president and Congress proposed?

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.