That was the question still pursuing Eli Broad as he issued a denial of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's tweet that Broad wants to take over the L.A. Times, and possibly along with it the San Diego's Union-Tribune.
"I believe local ownership would be a great thing for the Los Angeles Times and the people of Los Angeles and Southern California, because we would want to invest in the future of the paper, and not just keep cutting the newsroom staff."
Whether Broad was using the editorial "we" was not pursued.
Asked Smiley of Broad, "So at this point there's no deal in the works?"
Replied Broad: "There's no deal in the works."
Smiley interview with Broad
Broad's cat-and-mouse encounter with Smiley is unlikely to slake the growing thirst of some Angeleno and San Diego political and business interests for a Broad role in seizing control of the two Southern California papers — even given the repeated pronouncements of their current owner, Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, that they are not for sale.
"Given that the parties haven’t been negotiating, the odds on a Tribune Publishing agreement to sell are tough to gauge," Doctor wrote November 27 about a scheme for Apollo Global Management to buy Tribune and spin off the California papers to a group of investors headed by Broad.