Conservative Kochs eye Los Angeles Times
Some people fear a purchase by the billionaire brothers could transform the newspaper into a pulpit for their political views.
The Koch brothers -- called "the 1% at its very worst" -- aren't exactly popular with liberals, but apparently the billionaires are willing to spend a big chunk of change to take control of what many consider the liberal press.
Charles and David Koch, who are ranked as the world's sixth- and seventh-wealthiest people by the Bloomberg Billionaire index, are interested in Tribune's (TRBAA) newspapers, which include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, reports Reuters.
It's unlikely that the Koch brothers would keep the newspaper untouched, based on the track record of others who've made vanity purchases. With the value of newspapers falling precipitously, it makes them more affordable for businesses and wealthy people with an agenda to buy them for use as a bully pulpit.
Take the case of the San Diego Union-Tribune, which was bought by developer and financier Douglas Manchester in 2011. Since then, according to the progressive media group MediaMatters.org, it suffered its "worst year in the paper's eight-decade history."
"People are so embarrassed by the (newspaper) that they are dropping their subscriptions," Don Bauder, a former editor and columnist, told MediaMatters.
The changes have made the newspaper appear "like a brochure for (Manchester's) various interests," The New York Times complained.
That's something fans of the Los Angeles Times are already predicting will happen if the Koch brothers purchase the 132-year-old daily. Koch Industries, the country's second-largest private company, owns Georgia-Pacific, gas and oil pipelines and is one of the world's largest producers of nitrogen fertilizers.
"Just what this country needs. More control for the top 1%. Not enough for them to buy every politician out there but now they want to control what the people read," wrote one commenter on ThinkProgress, a liberal blog.
The Koch brothers aren't shy about spending to promote their political views. They reportedly pledged $60 million to help defeat Obama in the 2012 elections. According to the website for a film called "Koch Brothers Exposed," the pair "bankroll a vast network of organizations that work to undermine the interests of the 99% on issues ranging from Social Security to the environment to civil rights."
That's sure to strike fear in the hearts of many readers and staff of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, with one commenter at the LA Weekly writing, "If they do [buy it], it's the death of the Times."
So, are other bidders in the wings? Billionaire Warren Buffett, known for his love of the newspaper industry, has said he's not interested in buying the Tribune papers, noting that he believes in publications serving smaller communities. Others interested in the publications include News Corp.'s (NWSA) Rupert Murdoch, and Aaron Kushner, the owner of the Orange County Register.
Surprise. MediaMatters is quoted concerning the San Diego Union Tribune. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, average print edition circulation increased 5.5% from 2011 to 2012, and Sunday circulation increased 23%. Give us facts and numbers, not anecdotal hearsay filtered through a biased oracle, MediaMatters.
This is article is neither accurate nor informative. It is not journalism.
Typical hypocrisy and double standard
"This to us is something that we're not going to give up on, because we're not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people".
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