When Rupert Murdoch goes a-poaching to staff his Wall Street Journal newsroom, the New York Times won't be the first place he'll look, if you take at face value (not advisable) comments he made yesterday during an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto. "There are some very fine journalists there we would be happy to have, but, I mean, equally there are in other newspapers." Shut up, no way.
"I mean, they have been trying to steal, without telling us, some journalists from The New York Post." An outrageous offense! Except of course, that Murdoch himself has been all over town this year trying to lure reporters over to the Post as well as the Journal.
For instance! Earlier this year, the Post made a run on five staffers at the New York Sun, the city's Likudnik-paper-that-maybe-sorta-could. They all declined, but Murdoch doesn't seem to bear any hard feelings: "The New York Sun is a very obvious place where are there some very fine journalists," he said yesterday. "It's a small paper and a new one—but all over the country." How very Daniel Websterish of you, Rupe. What might you be up to?
Is Sun editor Seth Lipsky (Disclosure: my one-time boss) discussing selling the paper—or possibly himself—to Murdoch? Lipsky, who worked at the Journal for a decade or so, has met with Murdoch on more than one occasion since launching the Sun in 2002, and makes no secret of admiring him. A lot. An obsequious Sun editorial today congratulated Murdoch on his "new adventure," which "marks the end of one distinguished era in journalism and the beginning of what we predict will be a new one."
Well! Isn't this nice, all this back-and-forth public conviviality! Suspect, we say.
The Sun has got some decent reporters, who've broken stories and picked up awards while the paper's page count has gone from something like, oh, eight to just under 30.
Still, it's no money-maker at this point; would an offer from Murdoch be a welcome solution for the paper's investors? We asked Sun general manager Augie Fields [Disclosure: with whom I share a utility bill as well as a dog, a cat and the laundry]. "As far as we're concerned, it was a huge compliment," Fields said. "Beyond that, we have no comment."
Yeah, we didn't hear a denial anywhere in there either. Suspect, we say again!