He is spending time now in consideration of an even more far-fetched fantasy, The New York Times: he’d really like to own it too. Now, everybody around him continues to tell him that buying the Times is pretty much impossible. There will be regulatory problems. The Sulzberger family would never … And then there’s the opprobrium of public opinion.
But it’s obviously irresistible to him. I’ve watched him go through the numbers, plot out a merger with the Journal’s backroom operations, and fantasize about the staff’s quitting en masse as soon as he entered the sacred temple. It would be sweet revenge—because the Times for so long has made him the bogeyman and vulgarian. And wonderful to own not just one of America’s most important papers but both (he believes in monopolies). And the realization of his destiny: because the Times represents the ultimate in newspaper proprietorship—when he was 19, he and his father, the most successful newspaper executive in Australia, made a pilgrimage to Hillandale, the Sulzberger family home in Connecticut—and he believes he is the ultimate newspaper proprietor.
And because he loves newspapers—he may be the last person to love newspapers. He thinks the Times, with its soft stories and newsless front page and all its talk of being a news brand instead of a newspaper, has forsaken what a newspaper is.