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Richard Mellon Scaife, the Pittsburgh billionaire who owns newspapers and is a major donor to conservative causes, is not interested in buying the Union-Tribune, I have learned from a source close to him. The rumor that Scaife was interested has been making the rounds. In the last Forbes 400, Scaife was listed as America's 380th richest person with wealth of $1.3 billion. He owns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which is very close in circulation to the main newspaper in that declining city, the Post-Gazette. Scaife also owns shoppers in towns surrounding Pittsburgh. He is reported to be losing money on the Pittsburgh paper, which originally started in nearby Greensburg. He moved it into Pittsburgh in the early 1990s when a strike crippled the Post-Gazette. Scaife owned the Sacramento Union after Copley Press sold it in the 1970s, but eventually let it go. He is a staunch Republican who gave money to those who were digging up dirt on Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Still, his paper backed Hillary for the Democratic nomination. He is a heavy giver to conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and Hoover Institution. He has a home in Pebble Beach, and is aware of the Copley situation, but says he does not want to increase his newspaper ownership.

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Comments

Don Bauder Aug. 22, 2008 @ 7 a.m.

Response to post #15: When I said "once the story got rolling," I meant that the CNS story was gaining momentum in the newsroom. I didn't mean to suggest that any other publication had the story. I don't believe that was the case. Again, CNS and the U-T deserve praise for the Cunningham stories. Best, Don Bauder

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SanDiegan Aug. 21, 2008 @ 10:27 a.m.

Maybe Center City Development will buy it - certainly has enough of our cash to flit around on useless crud -"justify" it by telling us sheeple that they'll be SAVING taxpayer all that advertising $$$$.

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Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2008 @ 10:33 a.m.

Response to post #1: If local nabobs buy it, as they will if the price is low enough, the end product may well be something similar to what it would be if CCDC bought it. KUSI-TV's Mike McKinnon, who is one of the leaders of the local group, is a newsman. However, local money is only likely to come in if the newspaper can be preserved as an establishment propaganda organ. This will cause friction among the buying group, and if it succeeds, inside the newspaper. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Aug. 21, 2008 @ 11:54 a.m.

If the UT is bought with a propaganda agenda it will suffer the same fate it is suffering now- a slow death.

The only possible way the UT can survive against the internet is by quality, unbiased reporting and editorials.

No more yellow jouranlism and mud slinging-it just won't work in this day and age of instant news.

I hope and pray there is no "Fire Sale" because that to me will signal the end of the UT- OUR hometown paper.

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HellcatCopley Aug. 21, 2008 @ noon

It would be interesting to see how a KUSI-type buy would merge the other parts of the organization where there would be a redundancy -- such as advertising and finance. Johnny, you are a bit naive -- readers don't care all the much about quality. When the UT got a Pulitzer, the industry standard of an Oscar, circulation continued its plummet. The UT should toss all pretense of "objectivity" and let the reporters proudly display whatever bias he or she has. Let them dig into sleazy divorces, lurid crime, etc.

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Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2008 @ 12:18 p.m.

Response to post #3: I agree that if the U-T under new ownership continues as an establishment propaganda organ -- as it is almost certain to do if local moguls buy it -- it will continue to go down. However, once again, the main reasons for the slow death are demographic, economic and technological. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2008 @ 12:32 p.m.

Response to post #4: You raise a good point. It is difficult to say that editorial quality leads to better circulation or a fatter bottom line. I have studied this for years and can't say there is a definitive correlation, although an individual paper can lose some circulation when it endlessly pursues a vendetta. Definitely, the obsession with winning a Pulitzer is wacko. When I was at the U-T, I chided management about its obsession with winning a Pulitzer. I told them it was far more important to build market share than win some prize. Look at the Philadelphia Inquirer. It won numerous Pulitzers -- was known worldwide for it. But it still began to slip in the 1990s. McClatchy bought it when it bought Knight-Ridder. McClatchy sold it and now the new owner is hurting financially. Best, Don Bauder

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HellcatCopley Aug. 22, 2008 @ 6:43 a.m.

Response to post #8: As you said, once the story got rolling, the UT jumped on it. Did Newsdoll Karin Winner know that Cunningham was slime while singing his praises? And if she did not know, because she stuck her head in the sand, all the more shame.

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HellcatCopley Aug. 21, 2008 @ 2:53 p.m.

The UT Pulitzer was an odd-ball. I am not sure what, if any, control newsdoll Karin Winner had over the reporting done by the former Copley News Service writers. Smart momey says she no idea that CNS was looking into the doings of one of its icons, Randy Cunningham. When CNS tossed the story into her lap she was likely appalled. The CNS reporting actually made the UT look bad, as it was obvious that just some scratching revealed that Cunningham was the most corrupt US rep ever. So the UT took a prize for reporting it never did and never would have done.

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Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2008 @ 4:12 p.m.

Response to post #7: I would suspect that there was initial resistance to printing the Cunningham story. He was a U-T hero, even though he was a certifiable hyena. Once the story got rolling, however, several U-T reporters worked on it. Overall, the U-T and Copley News Service did an excellent job on that story. I take my hat off to them. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Aug. 21, 2008 @ 4:25 p.m.

I would suspect that there was initial resistance to printing the Cunningham story. He was a U-T hero, even though he was a certifiable hyena.

The thing I always got a kick out of from Randall, other than the fact that he was a hothead, was that when he ran for Congress (88,89??) he had NEVER in his life voted!

That is just too funny-or pathetic depending on how you view it.

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mindbomber Aug. 21, 2008 @ 5:02 p.m.

Hey Don, So we're in the business of reporting false rumors now? Best, mb.

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JohnnyVegas Aug. 21, 2008 @ 8:21 p.m.

If it is a FALSE rumor then it is a truth??????

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Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2008 @ 8:53 p.m.

Response to post #9: Was that fact well publicized when he was running? I will bet it wasn't. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2008 @ 8:55 p.m.

Response to post #10: We weren't reporting a false rumor. We were knocking it down. I think that's legitimate, particularly when the rumor subject, Scaife, is so prominent. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2008 @ 8:56 p.m.

Response to poset #11: It is true that the rumor about Scaife is false. Best, Don Bauder

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