Interviewed in Portfolio, Schmidt says:
I’m not aware of a proposal for us to buy the New York Times, but I’d never rule anything out. So far, we’ve stayed away from buying content. One of the general rules we’ve had is “Don’t own the content; partner with your content company.” First, it’s not our area of expertise. But the more strategic answer is that we’d be picking winners. We’d be disenfranchising a potential new entrant. Our principle is providing all the world’s information.
I’m not sure that having Google own the Times would be a bad thing; how much worse a job could they do? Google seems to exhibit the usual conventional politics that one would expect in their milieu, which has been bad news for conservatives sources delisted from Google News. But conservatives built an alternative media infrastructure when we were shut out of public discourse in the traditional media; we are building an alternative media infrastructure online, too. There is no reason that search and aggregation shouldn’t be a big part of that.