Retired Mercury News ad man Lou Alexander (pictured), who has been writing a blog about the Knight Ridder sale, struggles with what he calls the “Tony issue” — people’s opinions of chairman Tony Ridder. Ridder agreed Thursday (March 9) to sell his chain’s 32 papers to McClatchy but was shocked to find that McClatchy plans to resell 12 of them, including all KR papers in the Bay Area. “Some of the people [at the Merc] were so devoted to him that I accused them of being part of a cult that I called ‘Tonyism.’ I was never a member of that group,” Alexander recalls. “At the same time, I respect Tony and in some ways admire him. Tony was always gracious to me. When I retired he called me at home to thank me for the work I had done for the company. I really appreciated this since the publisher of the Mercury News [George Riggs] never even visited my office to say thanks and good-bye.” [Tony’s son says family lacks the money to make an acquisition (last graf)]

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