Vanity Fair‘s Wolff Chronicles Times‘ ‘Panic’

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In an article to be published in the September issue of Vanity Fair — out tomorrow — Michael Wolff paints the New York Times‘ current administration, always the target of the Bush administration’s ire, in a “crisis of confidence.”

The Times current predicament—its share price has fallen by 50 percent since 2002; almost 30 percent of its shareholders protested the company’s slate of directors at the annual meeting this spring—gets closer and closer to that of the Knight Ridder papers, forced into a sale; the tribune company, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, locked in a more or less mortal boardroom war; and Dow Jones, with its worried family members fretting about a sale of The Wall Street Journal. the Bush people cannot be unware of this.

Wolff finds former executives to rail against Arthur Sulzberger (Editorial? [Sulzberger is] running the business side too! This wasn’t supposed to happen!”) and seems to anchor part of his piece of the Times‘ forthcoming $850 million West side digs.

We disagree with plenty of it, but it’s nonetheless a fascinating read — if just for the dark joy we find in holding a magazine that, itself, weighs more than its covergirl.

Panic On 43rd Street [Vanity Fair (not online)]