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Newsweek is dying, long live Newsweek
June 21, 2010 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Newsweek was put up for sale in May due to multi-year losses. Last week, China’s Southern Daily Group made an unsuccessful bid to buy it. It was the first Chinese bid for a Western publication, and the Group expects to make similar purchases in the future. "It is like dating… it doesn't matter if one date does not like you. You grow from it."

From China Daily:
"With nine-language versions, Newsweek's platform with global communication resources and influence is in line with our pursuits," said Xiang Xi, managing editor of Southern Weekly (which is owned by the Group and has been described by the New York Times as "China's most influential liberal newspaper") who was granted an exclusive interview with President Obama during his visit to Beijing last November.
(The interview with Obama was not broadcast nationwide despite Beijing's promise, and Xiang Xi was allegedly demoted after the interview's publication due to censors' anger.)

From Sinocism:
Moves like this are to be expected. China has an aggressive policy to expand its global soft power, Chinese firms, even print media ones, tend to be cash-rich, and US traditional media firms are increasingly desperate, as Newsweek's dire finances (and the New York Times', Forbes' and BusinessWeek's) demonstrate.
(Newsweek reported a 31% decline in its Q1 revenues this year. PwC reports that the total ad revenue of consumer magazines fell 21 per cent in 2009, and projects another seven per cent decline in 2010.)

Forbes' China blogger raises two questions on the rejected Chinese bid:
First, would the US government even allow a purchase of influential US media assets, dying or not, by Chinese firms? Second, is China wasting time and money trying to expand its soft power through dying media properties?
Also:
The Daily Show reports on the communist threat posed by a Chinese language program for middle school kids.
NYT (Jan 2010): Foreign Languages Fade in Class — Except Chinese

And:
NYT blog waxes nostalgic for the pre-internet weekly Newsweek/Time tussle to define the national news agenda.
Newsweek's (so far) 70-odd bidders include Power Rangers billionaire Haim Saban and Newsmax chief executive Christopher Ruddy
posted by mondaygreens (33 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Again, the Onion called it first: Well, I've Sold The Paper To The Chinese (July 20, 2009)
posted by wcfields at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait. The guy behind Power Rangers is a billionaire?
posted by hellojed at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Interesting, very.
posted by infini at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2010


Hey China - I've got a '93 Chrysler LeBaron on blocks in the front yard. Sure it doesn't run now but that car used to turn heads. Make me an offer and she's yours.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:39 AM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I knew those $19 DVD players were leading up to no good.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:40 AM on June 21, 2010


We should ban foreign controlled media in the US, starting with Fox News.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:41 AM on June 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Maybe Newsweek wouldn't need selling if it hadn't gone to shit over the last several years.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:43 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Make me an offer and she's yours.

Throw in a tank of gas and I'll trade you Wabash Herald-Tribune, the Springfield Times and the New York Sun.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please. You think the only reason one would want to own a newspaper (OK, newsmagazine) is to make a profit? Throughout the history of the print media, owners have shown there are other powerful motivations.
posted by WPW at 10:50 AM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe Michael Crichton can get a sequel to "Rising Sun" out of it. Yellow Peril has perennial market appeal.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:58 AM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe Newsweek wouldn't need selling if it hadn't gone to shit over the last several years.

You think it's shitty now, just let the Republican party apparatchiks over at Newsmax get their hands on Newsweek. I'm more worried about that happening than about a Chinese company taking ownership. Newsmax is basically a PR tool of the Republican party and the "Conservative Movement".
Christopher W. Ruddy started Newsmax.com on September 16, 1998, supported by a group of politically conservative investors, including the family of the late Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Casey. Later, Richard Mellon Scaife, his former employer at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and a supporter of conservative causes, invested in the fledging company. One of the initial board members was author James Dale Davidson who edited a financial newsletter that had shared Ruddy's interest in the alleged suicide of President Bill Clinton's aide, Vincent Foster. Davidson's co-editor, Lord Rees-Mogg, former editor of The Times and Vice Chair of the BBC, later became chairman of Newsmax Media.
We should ban foreign controlled media in the US, starting with Fox News.

Though he's a native Australian, Murdoch is a naturalized citizen and Fox is a US company.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:59 AM on June 21, 2010


Maybe Newsweek wouldn't need selling if it hadn't gone to shit over the last several years.

Has it ever not been? After reeading the Economist & New Yorker, Newsweek might as well be scrawled in crayon.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:09 AM on June 21, 2010


Maybe Michael Crichton can get a sequel to "Rising Sun" out of it.

If he can get past that whole being dead problem, that is.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:09 AM on June 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


would the US government even allow a purchase of influential US media assets, dying or not, by Chinese firms?

This is none of the U.S. Government's business, as far as I know.
posted by Faze at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2010


First, would the US government even allow a purchase of influential US media assets, dying or not, by Chinese firms?

This is like the "too big to fail == too big, period" thing. If there's a US media asset that is too influential to let fall into the wrong hands, then that US media asset is too influential, period.
posted by DU at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


If [Michael Crichton] can get past that whole being dead problem.

I thought he'd already had himself cloned from his own DNA.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2010


Never mind Michael Crichton, all signs seem to be pointing towards David Wingrove's Chung Kuo posited reality being the one that may soon come to pass.

Which is dytopawesome!
posted by titus-g at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2010


all signs seem to be pointing towards David Wingrove's Chung Kuo posited reality being the one that may soon come to pass.

I don't foresee the customs of Imperial China making a return anytime soon. It's about as likely as the US breaking back into 13 colonies with German as the major language and the Irish serving in indentured servitude.

But hey, great sleeping dragon orientalism yellow terror, etc.
posted by yeloson at 11:58 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been silent on my thoughts on China after my return. They are fundamentally frightening to me in an intense, controlled release kind of way.


btw, i must add i think that Newsweek had been improving over Time of late
posted by infini at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2010


Maybe Michael Crichton can get a sequel to "Rising Sun" out of it.

If he can get past that whole being dead problem, that is.


Sound like the perfect plot for a Crichton novel!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:05 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe Newsweek wouldn't need selling if it hadn't gone to shit over the last several years.

Seriously, who reads Newsweek? Last time I read Newsweek was on the porcelain throne, when I was about seven or so - there was a stack of my father's old magazines, dating to the 60's in the corner, and I'd pick up one idly for the five minutes or so quality reading time. And even as a kid I found Newsweek quite surreal, as if written by some kind of robot for a pretend audience that didn't actually exist - a performance art of sorts.

Since then, I've seen it in the offices of healthcare providers and car dealer mechanics offices. I'd fan through the pages and be hit by memories of my bathroom four decades ago.

And now I wonder why do the Chinese want to buy Newsweek. Then it hits me - porcelain was invented in China. It all comes back in the ever swirling all encompassing universe of past present and future and past again, where ancient civilizations seek their roots.
posted by VikingSword at 12:09 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Newsweek Headlines from 2012

We Were Wrong; China Right All the Time

Walmart Now America's Favorite Store

Hegemony Explained to Fat Americans

Upon Reflection, Our Misprint from Yesterday Was Terrible Indeed

PLA Sells Hollywood DVDs Faster than Hollywood Ever Will

OK, honestly not too concerned
posted by circular at 12:17 PM on June 21, 2010




Never mind Michael Crichton, all signs seem to be pointing towards David Wingrove's Chung Kuo posited reality being the one that may soon come to pass.

Man, I loved those books. I'll definitely be picking up the 2011 reissue (assuming it comes to pass). It was so interesting to read a sf series where the U.S. wasn't the hegemon.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2010


Though he's a native Australian, Murdoch is a naturalized citizen and Fox is a US company.

Pfft. Anchor CEO.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Though he's a native Australian, Murdoch is a naturalized citizen and Fox is a US company.

But he's happy to trade electoral endorsements for weakening of media ownership rules!

But hey, great sleeping dragon orientalism yellow terror, etc.

Chinese officals attack NZ member of parliament, New Zealand Prime Minister offers grovelling apology for any harm the goons may have suffered.

Soft power, indeed.
posted by rodgerd at 1:38 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last time I read Newsweek was on the porcelain throne, when I was about seven or so

Last time I read Newsweek, George Will was bitching about Jimmy Carter. Was it George Will? Or was it Meg Greenfield? I can't remember. I do remember as a child being strangely fascinated by the way each columnist's picture was beside their column--almost as if the columnist was talking to me--and coming up with elaborate imaginary lives for each picture as I sat on the can.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:42 PM on June 21, 2010


We should ban foreign controlled media in the US, starting with Fox News

Yes, let's ban Americans from reading foreign media, starting with the BBC, maybe, then, I don't know, Le Monde? Surely, that is exactly what is needed to increase awareness and understanding about the world in the United States...
posted by dagny at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the most important thing is to ban foreign made sarcasm detectors.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2010


Maybe Michael Crichton can get a sequel to "Rising Sun" out of it.

If he can get past that whole being dead problem, that is.


Still wouldn't be worse than "Next".
posted by Trochanter at 8:11 PM on June 21, 2010


So I was reading Newsweek on the way home- shut up, it's all there was- and I notice that in this week's issue, they've given a column to Karl Rove, in which he talks about what a dishonest child Barack Obama is for speaking against Arizona's new "fuck latinos" law.

Lock him in, burn it down.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:13 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Umm, since I started reading the Newsweek Tumblr I've kind of started to like it? Some of the articles are good, and the ones that I don't like are at least worth disagreeing with. It's not as aggressively middlebrow as Time, where every article is written so that the most amount of people think that it agrees with their worldview. So yea, I think it's going to survive, and that's not a bad thing.

It's still a fuck ton better than Time.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:11 PM on June 21, 2010


Erm....I have seen this already. I wonder where?
posted by MessageInABottle at 3:03 AM on June 22, 2010


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