At a press conference in Lower Manhattan about expanding 311, Michael Bloomberg gently tamped down the speculation that he might purchase the New York Times, saying, "I am not a newspaper person."
Bloomberg said he was "flattered" that anyone would think of him as a possible buyer.
Which is how he responded to, but didn’t discourage, more than a year’s worth of rumors that he would run for president.
"I don’t know why anybody keeps pushing this," Bloomberg had said, when asked about the idea, which was mentioned in the current issue of Newsweek. "I am not a newspaper person. I know nothing about the production of a newspaper. I know something about reading it. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don’t. I buy it everyday retail. But I am not going into the newspaper business."
In the Newsweek piece, an article on Rupert Murdoch, an unnamed Bloomberg aide said that the mayor was being encouraged to look at buying the paper.
"It’s flattering that somebody thinks I would be a good newspaper man, but I think you should talk to Mr. Sulzberger, Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Zuckerman, Mr. Zell — those are people who own big newspapers and they’re the ones who are experts on how to produce a newspaper."
Later, when he called on a New York Times reporter, Bloomberg asked, "Is this a New York Times ownership question, or would you have a conflict?"
The reporter said, "not from me," and proceeded to ask how Bloomberg felt about the Department of Buildings.