Politics has once again found a way to meddle with The Washington Post Co.’s efforts to sell a financially troubled Newsweek. Sidney Harman, a stereo magnate and one of the front-runners to scoop up the magazine, may hit a stumbling block in the process thanks to a an open letter to Newsweek editor Jon Meacham by Mattie Fein, who’s running against Harman’s wife, Jane, for a California congressional seat.
In the letter, published by Politico, Fein calls Harman “an ardent foe of freedom of the press”:
When New York Times reporters Eric Lichtblau and James Risen learned of the government’s warrantless Surveillance Program targeting American citizens on American soil, Congresswoman Harman attempted to kill the story to cover-up.
In sum, Harman would be likely to exert her ownership leverage to
divert Newsweek’s investigative reporting away from government
wrongdoing that could be politically embarrassing to her.
The Washington Post Co. has reportedly rejected a few potential buyers of Newsweek. The company aims to find a buyer who is sufficiently politically neutral to maintain the magazine’s current editorial stance. It remains to be seen whether Fein’s strongly worded letter will make any kind of dent.