Down East 2013 ©
Financial pitfall: Thomas Cushing Munjoy is back to blogging about the follies of the Portland Press Herald’s management at a new online address.
The pseudonymous critic is raising some interesting points about the fiscal viability of the potential purchase of the paper by Maine Media Investments, the company formed by former U.S. Sen. William Cohen, developers Michael Liberty and Robert Baldacci and Pennsylvania newspaper publisher Richard Connor. 
Munjoy cites the New York Times’ ill-advised purchase of the Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram in the 1990s – the parent company has since written off $1 billion from the value of those assets – as an indication that no sane creditor would put up the cash needed for MMI to buy Blethen’s Maine holdings, which include the Portland daily as well as the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.
What once might have worked, Munjoy writes, won’t work now.
“Back in the spring when [MMI] started sniffing around 390 Congress St., the PPH was still breathing,” he said. “On life support, for sure, but it still had a pulse. Today it is a rapidly decaying corpse in a rapidly decaying economy.”
I’m not quite so pessimistic, mostly because I don’t believe guys like Cohen, Liberty and Baldacci would commit so much time and effort to an enterprise with no hope of financial return. That sort of folly would be contrary to the way they’ve always operated, not to mention an assault on common sense.
That said, it’s still not clear how the potential new owners will avoid the heavy debt load that eventually dragged the Blethens down and forced them to sell.
(Those wishing for more insight into Munjoy’s thinking are urged to check out the interview with him on the Bollard’s Web site.) 
Historical pitfall: George Smith, the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and a regular columnist in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, has been around long enough to know a lot of Maine political history.
And long enough to forget some of it, too, apparently.
In his Nov. 19 offering, Smith refers to Ed Muskie as “the long-shot first-ever Democratic governor of Maine.” 
For the record, Democrats who preceded Muskie in the Blaine House include Frederick W. Plaisted in 1910, Oakley C. Curtis in 1914, Louis J. Brann in 1934. There were also several Dems elected to the governorship in the 19th century, with the first being Robert P. Dunlap in 1833. 
According to the article, Morse is currently in charge of “advancement and new media” (whatever that means) at the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, but previously served as chief executive officer of Courier Publications in Rockland (where he made a deal with me to carry my weekly political column in some of Courier’s papers).
“When I left Courier, I looked at the challenges facing me and I looked at all the media,” Morse is quoted as telling the Rotarians. “What medium is the most important, and what medium can contribute the most to solving the problems of the state of Maine, now more than ever?”
Bangor Daily reporter George Chappell writes, “With that thought in mind, he then approached the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and got a job.”
Well, not exactly.
From 2003, shortly after he left Courier, until 2005, Morse ran Maine Community Publications, an unsuccessful attempt by the Blethen Maine Newspapers to set up a weekly newspaper empire. He didn’t get around to entering the problem-solving world of public broadcasting until 2007.
Morse’s motives in doing so may have been as altruistic as he claims, but his timing is way off.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.