Senator David Vitter urged Times-Picayune owner Steve Newhouse to sell the newspaper to avoid controversial cuts planned for the fall.
In May, the 175-year old paper announced that it will be ending daily publication. The Times-Picayune will print on Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays, and publish the rest of its coverage online. The move makes New Orleans the biggest city in the United States without a major daily paper.
Vitter thoroughly skewered the decision in a blistering letter addressed to Newhouse on Thursday. "Maybe you truly believe that your new model for the Times-Picayune will serve the region well. I do not," he wrote.
He rattled off a number of reasons why the plan was a bad one. He argued that the digital platform could in no way replace a print newspaper. Then, he took aim at the paper's website itself, calling it "terribly inadequate" and charging that it has gotten even worse recently.
"The new format has been universally panned (and I agree)," Vitter wrote. "And this is reflected in the numbers. As a single member of our Congressional delegation, I actually have far more Facebook followers than your whole enterprise."
He also touted the paper's competition, writing, "from a pure business perspective, you’re about to get smoked."
Click over to Romenesko for the full text of Vitter's letter.