On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times announced that it had purchased its the Tampa Tribune and immediately ceased publication of its newspaper rival.
Part of this announcement was a video message from Paul Tash. The Times chairman and CEO move was as brutal as it was efficient.
No final edition of the century-old newspaper. No opportunity for Tribune reporters to say goodbye to their readers. Just a forwarding of the TBO.com website to the Times’ domain.
This begs the question: Is Tash more like a hactivist with Anonymous or was Walder Frey from Game of Thrones his inspiration?
With the website forwarding and the hostage-video production, a case can be made that the Times CEO took a page from Anonymous with his take down of the Tribune.
But, obviously, Tash wasn’t anonymous in his actions, so that pretty much rules out that description.
So does the Game of Throne metaphor work? I think so.
Like the Lord of the Crossing, Tash lured his enemies into a false sense of security. Instead of inviting them to a wedding, Tash inked a deal to publish his rival’s newspaper.
“We have a printing arrangement with them,” insisted Tribune managing partner Robert Loring when asked by 10 News’ Noah Pransky if the Tribune was being purchased by the Times. “This is kind of bs.”
Loring sounds as naive as Robb Stark, who thought he and his clan were safe because Frey had extended guest right to the Starks – formally eating salt and bread from the same bowl as his guests.
As any GoT fan knows, it wasn’t long before the doors to the wedding hall were sealed and “The Rains of Castamere” were playing.
Frey and his men go on to slaughter Stark and his allies from the North, all but ending the War of the Five Kings.
Tash and his colleagues slaughtered the Tribune and its employees, all but ending the Battle of Tampa Bay.
There’s even the fact that Frey and Tash were both financially backed by distant allies — the Lannister backing the Freys; Boston-based Crystal Financial LLC loaning Tash the money to eliminate his competition.
Viewers of HBO’s version of Game of Thrones are seeing this season the consequences of Frey’s murdering of the Starks: Frey’s ally in betraying the Starks, is murdered by his own son, who proceeds to kill Frey’s daughter by sicking his dogs on her.
Certainly nothing like that awaits Tash, but, just as the North Remembers, so too might many Tampanians and other readers of the Tribune.