Who will buy the Times? And will they find better columnists?

What if the unthinkable – or what was unthinkable a decade ago – happened, and the members of the Sulzberger family decided it was in...

What if the unthinkable – or what was unthinkable a decade ago – happened, and the members of the Sulzberger family decided it was in the best interest of themselves, The New York Times, and the journalism community at large to let go of the most influential newspaper in the US?

That notion is often dismissed outright. But many people thought the Bancrofts would never sell The Wall Street Journal.

Michael Wolff's "The war on the Times" piece in the May issue of Vanity Fair takes a stab at who the leading candidates to buy the Times might be. They are, in order from most likely to least, The Sage of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett; The Washington Post Co.; and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be looking for something to do early next year.

Rupert Murdoch is not on the list, but the No. 4 candidate is “the highest bidder,” which could be one of any number of people/companies/hedge funds.

Wolff also makes a great point about the Times’ hiring of uber-conservative William Kristol as its newest in-house right-wing columnist. The problem with Kristol is not that he’s a conservative, or that every prediction he’s made about the war in Iraq has turned out to be wildly off the mark, he says. It’s that he is, as MSNBC used to say in an ad campaign promoting Ashleigh Banfield, everywhere. Newspapers, magazines, cable news – wherever one looks, there’s Kristol proclaiming that the war in Iraq will be over by the end of the week.

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