Here’s a link to a story by Associated Press writer Michael Liedtke that explains the Knight Ridder soap opera for those who haven’t been watching. CEO Tony Ridder, who used to be on the AP board of directors, declined AP’s request to be interviewed for this story. But Liedtke points out that people’s views of Ridder have changed from the days when he was viewed as “Darth Ridder” because he was trying to cut costs and boost profits to satisfy Wall Street. Liedtke quotes former Merc editor Jerry Ceppos as saying he thinks Ridder got a bum rap. “I never felt a lack of commitment or any wavering on the need to spend on quality journalism,” said Ceppos. Jack Morton, the industry analyst who is always quoted in such stories, doubts another executive could have saved Knight Ridder. “Considering the hand Tony was dealt, he did about as good as he could,” said Morton.