Times Publisher Sucks Up to Robber-Baron InvestorS

In 2007, a New York Times editorial writer slammed Carlos Slim Helú as a "robber baron" who leeched his nation's wealth through overpriced phone service. Funny how a $250 million investment changed the paper's tune.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., family steward to the financially-troubled paper, has written an embarrassing paean to its benefactor Slim. At least he had the good grace to publish it elsewhere, in Time magazine. Can you smell the butter?

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting Carlos Slim... It was obvious from the moment we met that he was a true Times loyalist... Carlos, a very shrewd businessman... has funded extensive public-health education programs and... helped thousands of students throughout Latin America...

Carlos knows very well how much one person with courage, determination and vision can achieve.

Sulzberger just finished examining 30 different online-news business models in hopes of making more money from nytimes.com. The publisher is well aware of how challenging it is to turn a profit online. So perhaps he should not be blamed for seizing the opportunity to exploit his real talent: Pleasing the rich and powerful people who own his company, through flattery and every other means.

Sulzberger is hardly alone: many in the traditional media find it easier to court new sugar daddies than to implement deeper forms of change. The Times scion is, however, the most conspicuous — and so, in many ways, the saddest.