What’s up at the Globe

The upcoming sale of the Boston Globe by the New York Times is getting really confusing. First, the Globe reported that there were six bidders. Then the field was narrowed to three. Then a week ago the paper said the number of bidders had expanded to six again, although Red Sox owner John Henry had dropped out. And then on Wednesday the Globe reported that Henry is back in the running for New England’s largest and most important news operation.

The mishmash of reports is understandable because the Times has put a gag order on all the bidders and isn’t saying anything itself. As a result, there is little concrete information available and gossip is the order of the day, which is somewhat ironic for the sale of a newspaper that prides itself on getting the facts right.

The bidders allegedly include former Time publisher Jack Griffin and two members of the Taylor family that sold the Globe to the Times originally; Robert Loring’s Revolution Capital; a group of Boston power brokers including Jack Connors and John Fish; Springfield TV station owner John Gormally; the owners of the U-T San Diego; and a group led by Boston lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan.

But Henry’s reemergence among the bidders is the most intriguing. Henry reportedly was bidding originally as part of the New England Sports Network, a cable channel that is a joint venture of the Red Sox and Delaware North, the owner of the Boston Bruins. NESN, according to the Globe, decided to pull out of the bidding process but now Henry is pushing ahead on his own.

What he wants with the Globe is a mystery. CommonWealth reported that he may have an interest in expanding the Globe’s news brand into television, possibly with a cable channel. CommonWealth also reported that Henry, like other bidders, has explored moving the Globe’s presses to an underutilized press facility in Millbury (owned by the Telegram & Gazette, which is also being sold by the Times as part of the deal) and selling or redeveloping the land on Morrissey Boulevard where the Globe is located. Dan Kennedy’s Media Nation blog is betting on Henry. The Herald doesn’t have anything to add, but the tabloid accurately reports that tough choices are ahead for whichever group buys the Globe.

                                                                                                                                                                                 BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

The Massachusetts Senate shifts leftward as Sen. Stanley Rosenberg announces he has enough support to become the next Senate president, CommonWealth reports. The Telegram & Gazette lists some of the supporters of Rosenberg and Brewer. The current Senate president, Therese Murray, says she will wait until next to decide whether she will seek reelection, the Herald reports. Murray must step down as president under the chamber’s term limits.

The Globe says Gov. Deval Patrick is now in full lame mode, a potentially treacherous coda to his eight years in office.

The Legislature approves a sales tax holiday weekend for August 10-11, the Gloucester Times reports.

A Herald editorial calls fears that casinos will erode local aid funds from the Lottery disingenuous, since the state casino law worked “extensive language into the casino bill that protects the cash for locals.” Gov. Patrick argues that any casino-related dip in Lottery revenues will be brief.

Republicans don’t like the new gas tax.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

An audit finds Worcester officials misspent federal affordable housing funds and must repay $2 million, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

Somerset officials seek state help in reconciling 10 months of sloppy financial record keeping, the Herald News reports.

The recent heat wave caused the hands of the giant Ayer Mill clock in Lawrence to stop moving, but a quick repair had the mechanism moving again, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Salisbury officials are considering removing the town’s liquor licensing commissioner, who threw a public tirade against selectmen who declined to entertain a slot parlor offer from the Cordish Cos.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

US Rep. William Keating presses the new FBI director on the Boston bombing, NECN reports.

The Illinois speaker and Senate president file suit against Gov. Pat Quinn for withholding legislative paychecks until a pension bill is approved, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The House passes and sends to President Obama a student loan bill that ties rates to financial markets, USA Today reports.

President Obama goes to bat for Larry Summers.

The parents of Newtown, Connecticut, shooting victims want stricter curbs on guns, but everybody else in town is on a gun-buying spree.

ELECTIONS

Marty Walsh leads the pack in July fundraising numbers in the Boston mayor’s race.

The Globe raises questions about the propriety of Boston mayoral candidate Charles Clemons’s continued appearance on the pirate radio station he operates.

Oprah Winfrey plans to host a fundraiser for New Jersey US Senate candidate Cory Booker, Politico reports.

Mitch McConnell looks to have a tough reelection fight on his hands.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A new report indicates the Massachusetts economy slowed significantly during the second quarter, WBUR reports

Lunch-time strikes by fast food workers spread across the country, the New York Times reports.

Low-income tenants in an Amherst apartment complex are fighting eviction after the property changes hands.

Standard & Poor’s has been more lax than its rivals in rating Wall Street mortgage-bond deals, and its leniency has grown the company’s business. This should sound familiar.

EDUCATION

A Globe editorial agrees with critics of an MIT report on the Aaron Swartz case who say the university’s professed “neutrality” in his prosecution was wrong.

A newly-appointed Boston middle school principal resigns after a further cases of plagiarism by the educator emerge.

HEALTH CARE

Two mosquitoes captured in Pelham tested positive for West Nile virus, while a horse is diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis in Belchertown.

TRANSPORTATION

Many gas stations absorb the 3-cent increase in the gas tax, waiting to see what their competitors do with prices, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

Middleboro officials say the CapeFlyer is a public safety threat, the Patriot Ledger reports.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Rhode Island’s DeepWater Wind bids $3.8 million and wins the bidding for a large swath of ocean near Massachusetts and Rhode Island and plans to put up 200 wind turbines, South Coast Today reports. The auction was the first-ever for wind farming rights in federal waters.

A congressional study says Massachusetts consumers paid $1.5 billion over the last decade for natural gas they never actually received due to leaky pipes.

The environment is worse than we think because of faulty data, Time reports.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A Salem man awaiting trial in two armed holdups tries to take the gun of one of the officers guarding him on a visit to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, prompting an exchange if gunfire that left the prisoner and an officer wounded, the Salem News reports.

Peter Gelzinis really wants to see Whitey Bulger take the stand in his own defense.

MEDIA

GateHouse Media files a letter of protest about documents missing from the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case file, the Herald News reports. Tsarnaev’s Rolling Stone issue flew off the shelves, a local retail boycott notwithstanding.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Philly.com reports on the de-newspaperization of America.

The operator of a community news site in Brattleboro, Vermont, reports on its 10-year anniversary, Nieman Journalism Lab reports.