After bitter tabloid rivals the Post and Daily News both lost their bidding war for Newsday to bumbling Long Island cable concern Cablevision, discussion centered on which tab would be first to strike some kind of cost-cutting partnership with Cablevision. As it turns out, the Post and Daily News may just cut Cablevision out of the loop entirely — the Times tonight substantiates prior rumors the two papers will partner. The tabloids are in preliminary but "committed" discussions to share printing, distribution, sales and other functions, stopping short of a full Joint Operating Agreement. If only it were all so easy as simply signing off on such a deal.
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and News owner Mort Zuckerman have yet to have their first meeting on the deal, but it shouldn't be particularly awkward — as shown in the picture above, the two moguls are comfortable chatting socially, in this case at internet publisher Arianna Huffington's May book party.
More difficult, for sure, will be the merging of the papers' fiercely competitive circulation groups. The Post has lavished coverage on Daily News circulation scandals, and the rivalry trickles all the way down to deliverymen, who have been known to trash bundles of rivals' papers. Perhaps, before any partnership goes through, a study of sectarian rivalries in Iraq is in order, if only as a cautionary example.