As the U.S. focused on commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington heading into the weekend, Koch Industries confirmed to reporters at the New York Times and other outlets that it is no longer interested in purchasing the Tribune Company. Tribune’s eight national newspapers include the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant.
Greenpeace offers thanks and praise to its engaged supporters and coalition partners for all their hard work to keep Tribune’s newspapers out of the Koch brothers’ hands. The full coalition (listed below) includes Forecast the Facts, Courage Campaign, SEIU, Daily Kos, and Free Press.
While we should all celebrate the Coalition’s success, there remain a few unresolved concerns in regard to the newspaper sales that we need to be aware of.
First and foremost, media mogel Rupert Murdoch could still potentially add the LA Times to News Corporation’s collection of influential outlets, which are known for agenda-driven reporting above fact-driven news. Think if the LA Times were to resemble the not-so-subtle opining seen on FOX News or in the New York Post. While Mr. Murdoch faces some regulatory hurdles due to the media monopolies he already holds in the U.S., the Coalition to Save Our News continues to urge Tribune Company’s leadership to reject any sales to News Corporation.
As for the Kochs: Koch Industries isn’t exactly know for its honesty, and the outlet that broke the recent news is the Daily Caller–launched with money from the Koch brothers’ billionaire political ally Foster Friess and run by Tucker Carlson, an “expert” at the Koch-founded Cato Institute.
Still, Koch’s decision not to buy Tribune’s papers is rooted in economics, the primary factor in every business decision made by CEO Charles Koch. As Mr. Koch told the Wall Street Journal on June 5th:
“We wouldn’t be interested in putting huge amounts of money in it on the bet that we can have a miraculous turnaround [of newspapers.] We see it continuing to decline, the print media.”
In addition to Tribune Company’s recent bankruptcy and the struggle of U.S. newspapers to be profitable, Koch Industries admitted that the unprecedented public outcry over Koch’s interest in Tribune papers ensured additional liabilities if Koch Industries went through with the deal. From the same Wall Street Journal interview:
“A person familiar with the matter said the Koch brothers have indicated an interest in a deal for the Tribune papers but may instead look at other newspaper assets that could be acquired with less political opposition.”
While it is unlikely that Koch will change its mind on the Tribune Company newspapers, Charles Koch’s ideological and political ambitions still include an expansion of Koch World‘s existing influence in the media. See the Wichita Eagle for another previous interview with Charles Koch that included questions on Tribune Company.
The full coalition behind the Save Our News campaign:
Common Cause California
Courage Campaign Institute
The Other 98%