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.

By Aimee Picchi Mar 13, 2013 2:00PM

Image: Printing press (© James Hardy/Getty Images)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, 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.

More on moneyNOW

Mar 13, 2013 5:03PM

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.

Mar 13, 2013 5:25PM
RU Nutso... I suppose the BILLON dollar war chest to re-elect the dictator-in-chief was donated by welfare queens, food stamps thieves, abortion supporters, LBGT(???)  and so on. The hypocrisy is unbelievable. "Drink the Kool-Aid, hop on the comet tail, wait for the Easter Bunny". What in the hell are you people smokin'?
Mar 13, 2013 5:25PM
So it's OK for Bloomberg to spend his millions on a super pac and back candidates that share his views and promote his agenda and pay for ads against candidates he doesn't like,  but it's not ok for the Koch Brothers?

Typical hypocrisy and double standard

Mar 13, 2013 10:36PM
Why not? The Hollywood Left has controlled entertainment and the Major TV Networks have had their way for the last forty years. One would think that those who preach diversity and tolerance would welcome this new entry in the social arena.
Mar 13, 2013 5:39PM

"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".


~Paul Ryan~



Mar 13, 2013 4:44PM
If that happens, goodbye L.A. Times, R.I.P.
Mar 13, 2013 2:39PM
The koch brothers make Fox sound like flaming liberals.
Mar 13, 2013 2:28PM
"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,Just like Fox news on cable . If you talk to the sheeple and spread lies every day the American sheeple believe you .. LOL ONLY in the USA land of the free ? Home of the truly stupid ...
Mar 14, 2013 5:43AM
I thought you liberals new talking point from your leaders was that you are supposed to give the definition of "liberal" in a smug way to anyone who calls you a liberal and tell them how wrong they are.  But here you all are calling yourselves liberal because of your desires to shut down and hate free enterprise and success, and push forth your agenda to be able to censor and control the media.  Strange, you folks can't seem to make up your minds what you want other than that when what you are told you want goes bad... you look back to the people who told you what you wanted that went bad for advice on what you want next and who to blame..... its fun to ramble like this... learned it from liberals... lefties.... err liberal embellishments.....
Mar 13, 2013 3:09PM
The top 1% continues to control more and more of the wealth and power of the United States while the bottom 90% of us own less and less. In the past presidential election a relative handful of multi-billionaires, billionaires and multi-millionaires spent at least 250 million dollars to put their favorite  candidate in the White House. Thankfully, they failed, but they have hundreds of millions of dollars more to spend on gaining control of our democracy.
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