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Reading between the lines.

Just who is to blame for the death of the Arkansas Gazette?

One law professor has introduced a new suspect -- the U.S. Department of Justice.

Stephen R. Barnett, professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, presents such a case in a commentary in the Dec. 29 "Forum" section of The New York Times.

He questions whether the Justice Department went all out in its efforts to keep the Gazette and the Dallas Times Herald from being purchased by their competitors.

The assets of the Gazette were bought by Arkansas Democrat publisher Walter E. Hussman Jr. on Oct. 18 for $69 million.

Less than two months later, the assets of the Times Herald were sold to the A.H. Belo Corp. -- owner of The Dallas Morning News -- for $55 million.

The Justice Department allowed the sales to the "least-favored buyers" only after the newspapers were shopped around.

"One wonders if the Justice Department did as much as it should have to keep these papers alive," Barnett wrote. "... In each case, any efforts by the Justice Department to produce a different result were shrouded in secrecy and apparently minimal."

"In each case, the paper that died was politically liberal, while the one permitted to buy it out ... shares the conservative views of the Bush Administration."

A unique perspective?

Read on ...
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Title Annotation:failure of Arizona Gazette blamed on the U.S. Department of Justice
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 6, 1992
Words:222
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