Oh no, now you've gone and encouraged Michael Bloomberg again: Newsweek reports that "the mayor's confidants and closest associates are, in fact, encouraging him to explore the idea" of buying the Times. And to bolster their case they've no doubt assembled clips of others saying the same thing in the press over the past few months, including Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff, shouting head Jim Cramer and former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger. Despite frightful working conditions at Bloomberg's financial information company, his buddies imagine him shielding the Times newsroom from intense financial pressures:

According to the source, the proponents of the merger are appealing to the mayor's sense of "civic-mindedness," arguing that he is best suited to take the publishing company private to "help protect the brand" in the wake of relentless shareholder assaults. "It is clearly a brand that Bloomberg could help preserve and that he cares about immensely … and could pay a competitive price" for, says this person.

It's not like Bloomberg would run the Times like some sort of non-profit. If that were the case, Rupert Murdoch probably wouldn't have even made the pretense, in the same Newsweek story, of claiming to be intimidated by Bloomberg: "I wouldn't look forward to going up against him," said the News Corp. chief and Wall Street Journal owner.

[Newsweek via PaidContent]