Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Koch brothers may be in the market for some newspapers

The New York Times is reporting that the Koch brothers, financial backers of various right-wing causes, may be interested in buying a group of newspapers owned by the Tribune Company. Tribune came out of bankruptcy on Dec. 31 and has recently been looking to sell off its print properties.

The official statement by Koch Industries is that they are an entrepreneurial company always on the lookout for profitable enterprises, which, they say, means it is natural their name would come up in such a conservation.

Politically, however, the papers could serve as a broader platform for the Kochs’ laissez-faire ideas. The Los Angeles Times is the fourth-largest paper in the country, and The Tribune is No. 9, and others are in several battleground states, including two of the largest newspapers in Florida, The Orlando Sentinel and The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. A deal could include Hoy, the second-largest Spanish-language daily newspaper, which speaks to the pivotal Hispanic demographic. 

The cluster of papers have a value of $623 million, which would appear to be a number that would not scare off Koch Industries, a business with annual revenue of around $115 billion. 

Among the recipients of their largesse in the past has been the conservative think tank the Cato Institute in Washington and Americans for Progress, a group that helped in the formation of the Tea Party. 

Supporters of the Kochs will, and have, argued that such a deal would be "an investment opportunity, [to be] viewed as entirely separate from Charles and David Koch’s lifelong mission to shrink the size of government."

Yes, well...

I would assume that many things would have to fall in place before such a deal was done, but the thought of David and Charles Koch doing for print media in America what Rupert Murdoch has done for broadcast media is a chilling thought. 

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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  • The idea of the kochs owning newspapers terrifies me. That seems to be the rage among billionaires today, though. Warren Buffet recently bought the Tulsa World - not quite the cachet of the tribune but a decent paper in the heart of red country.

    By Anonymous CDW, at 4:37 PM  

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