Antitrust Investigation Stunned Editor

february 6, 2003  10:19 am
The morning after he learned that New Times Los Angeles was closing, Rick Barrs, now editor of Phoenix New Times, awakened from an "alcoholic haze" to the suggestion from The New York Times' David Carr that the closing might violate federal antitrust laws. Barrs thought the question bizarre. "It seemed unlikely that a Department of Justice that had allowed daily newspapers to eliminate smaller competitors for generations (take the Arizona Republic swallowing up the Phoenix Gazette, and the massive Gannett company buying up the whole shebang) would bother with two alternative media gnats. Especially John Ashcroft's pro-business Justice Department," Barrs writes.