Register Gone Red?

The Orange County Register's parent company, Blackstone Group, said Red money is good money May 22 as they accepted $3 billion from its newest partner, the Chinese government, according to reports from several news agencies. Blackstone Group is a private equity firm that owns 28 daily newspapers and 37 weeklies in 11 states under its subsidiary Freedom Communications. Talks have already begun about finding a less ironic name for the chain, leading some to suggest "Pander Express," according to rumor.

The announcement comes on the heels of controversy at the New York Post over its owner, Rupert Murdoch, allegedly blocking stories critical of the Chinese government to protect his business relationships.

Whether censorship or editorial favoritism will result from the buyout in the United States' 13th-largest newspaper chain is anybody's guess, but judging by today's lead story on the lifestyle page, titled "Mao Zedong: A great leader, an even better poet," the paper already seems to be warming up the idea.


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