Nerves at Newsweek over prospect of purchase by conservative media company Newsmax

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Newsweek reporters are nervous, an employee told The Daily Caller, about being owned by the conservative Newsmax media company, which announced Wednesday that it had placed a bid to purchase the money-losing magazine.

Newsweek’s owner, the Washington Post Company, put up the weekly for sale in May, about a year after a major redesign that included targeting an affluent audience with left-leaning thought pieces.

Newsmax Media spokesman Scott Rosenblum confirmed the bid to The Daily Caller, saying in a statement that if the bid is successful, “Newsweek would continue in its mission to objectively report the news and provide analysis from a wide spectrum of perspectives.”

But a cursory search of past Newsmax headlines show the conservative site hasn’t always thought of Newsweek positively — or as an objective outlet:

  • Newsweek Hides Real Global Warming Agenda
  • Was Newsweek’s Use of Palin Photo Legal?
  • Broder: Newsweek Owes Rove Apology
  • Newsweek Apologizes; Afghans Want Action
  • Ann Coulter: ‘Newsweek Push Polling for Al-Qaida’

Questions remain if Newsmax successfully buys the magazine: Will Newsweek revert back to its old format of less opinion and more reporting? Will it keep Jon Meacham as editor? Does it think it can make the magazine profitable? Will it axe the liberal commentaries?

“At this point, things are a little bit busy,” said Rosenblum, when The Daily Caller requested an interview with Newsmax founder Chris Ruddy, who also did not return a request for comment on his cell phone.

Meacham, and others at Newsweek contacted by The Daily Caller either declined comment or did not respond to requests to do so. But the staff source who said that there is nervousness among reporters said employees feel that way about bids being placed by other companies, too.

As for whether the liberal contributors would stick around, the founder of the liberal DailyKos blog said he wouldn’t have a problem doing so. “If they wanted to pay me to write something, then sure. I’d take wingnut money to tell them how wrong they are,” said Markos Moulitsas, who writes frequently for Newsweek.

Others who placed bids or told the Washington Post Company that they wanted to explore a bid include the owner of TV Guide, a hedge fund manager and the 91-year-old founder of a stereo equipment company.

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