Koch Brothers Set To Buy Major Newspapers

koch brothers exposedCharles and David Koch, the billionaires who own companies like Georgia Pacific and bring you products like Brawny paper towels, are notorious for their singularly harsh vision for a more conservative America, with the Tea Party movement their most visible political mouthpiece. Both they and the Tea Party movement have been largely pigeon-holed as extreme and outside the mainstream by the media (Fox News excepted, of course), so now they are looking to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun.

In case you’ve forgotten just how mean the Kochs’ vision for America is for the average American, check out the powerful documentary Koch Brothers Exposed. The New York Times has the story on the planned newspaper acquisitions:

Three years ago, Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and supporters of libertarian causes, held a seminar of like-minded, wealthy political donors at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colo. They laid out a three-pronged, 10-year strategy to shift the country toward a smaller government with less regulation and taxes.

The first two pieces of the strategy — educating grass-roots activists and influencing politics — were not surprising, given the money they have given to policy institutes and political action groups. But the third one was: media.

Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.

By early May, the Tribune Company is expected to send financial data to serious suitors in what will be among the largest sales of newspapers by circulation in the country. Koch Industries is among those interested, said several people with direct knowledge of the sale who spoke on the condition they not be named. Tribune emerged from bankruptcy on Dec. 31 and has hired JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners to sell its print properties.

The papers, valued at roughly $623 million, would be a financially diminutive deal for Koch Industries, the energy and manufacturing conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenue of about $115 billion.

Politically, however, the papers could serve as a broader platform for the Kochs’ laissez-faire ideas…

[continues in New York Times]

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  • addalled

    This is bad because only liberals should be allowed to own newspapers.

    • Ittabena

      No, this is good because this will make it 7 groups that own all our media, five years ago it was only 5. So, our liberty and free press is returning, right?

      These guys will probably make FOX NEWS look mild. Meh!

    • Andrew

      Weak.

    • Anarchy Pony

      With vigorous reasonin’ skills like that, you really should be on a major league website, like Big Government or Reason or something.

      • Ittabena

        Well, they do say there is a lot in a name, even if it is mis-spelled…

    • addalled

      It was sarcasm.

  • BuzzCoastin

    interesting counter intuitive investment
    declining ad revenue, declining print readers and not much credibility or influence
    this is either a brilliant investment
    or the blunder of some fat cat Luddites who think print still matters
    and that it could possibly influence opinion
    within the shit-storm of info newspapers now compete in

    • Andrew

      Print is the media of the future, because those who get their news from the Internet or TV will eventually not be able to comprehend language. disinfo.com/2013/04/panting-for-breath-on-a-virtual-shore/

      • Ittabena

        Uh, then how will they read?

        • Andrew

          They won’t. The only ones who will still be able to are the ones who read print.

          • Ittabena

            So, we will have to read to everyone else? Somehow this logic does not work. I think we have another Y2K/Mayan Calender/Nibiru snow job here.

          • Andrew

            I originally stated that they won’t be able to comprehend language, so reading to them won’t work.

            Also, I’m talking about Internet users, so wherever I wrote “they” or “them,” read “we” or “us.”

          • Ittabena

            “We” or “us” would imply that I buy into all this. I read, and write pretty well and haven’t had any problems of late, and I even play video games.

          • Andrew

            Yeah, you can read now, but keep reading Disinfo on the computer and you’ll be gibbering like a gibbon.

          • Ittabena

            Any minute now. I’m certain of it…

          • Andrew

            Gblagabloogablegagablgah!

            Too late for me.

      • BuzzCoastin

        based on the link
        I’m surprised that you think
        there’s anyone left to read newspapers

        but your also incorrect to assume
        that literacy is not already dead
        the vast majority of modern readers
        are only functionally literate

        • Andrew

          So functional literacy is not literacy. Got it.

          • BuzzCoastin

            functional literacy is
            the ability to read street signs, newspapers &
            work in a cube, counter or sales floor

            I spent 20 years working with people who had PhDs, MDs & MBAs
            most were only functionally literate
            and had not read very far beyond their pervue

            I knew a woman with a MA in scientific history from Stanford
            I asked her if she had read a lot of Bacon
            and she asked me what bacon had to do with science
            that’s being functionally literate
            and that happened 15 years ago

          • emperorreagan

            Sometime last year there were a number of reports that the average high school reading level is 5th grade. The average American reads at an 8th grade level as popularly reported, though that’s surely on the decline if high school students are reading so poorly. 20% of Americans lack functional literacy skills, according to the UN.

            As a reference (with the caveat that grade level ratings are a crude tool):
            Philip Pullman’s popular His Dark Materials series is rated at a 7.0 grade level – so the average high school student (and a significant portion of the adult population) may struggle with a young adult fiction series.

            Thomas Paine’s Common Sense is rated at a 12.0 grade level. The US Constitution is 17.8 and the Declaration of Independence is 15.1. With similarly high levels of difficulty for other texts influential to Western civilization (Aristotle & Plato, the King James Bible, etc.), a majority of the US population lacks the reading ability to process and understand documents considered important to American society & western culture in general.

            Also interesting:

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/feb/12/state-of-the-union-reading-level

          • Jin The Ninja

            this is so telling. thanks for this.

          • BuzzCoastin

            that’s been my experience
            interacting with highly edumacated dolts
            “Let us work without reasoning,’ said Martin; ‘it is the only way to make life endurable.”
            ― Voltaire, Candide

          • Ittabena

            I like the graph on the Presidential levels. Notice how the decline seems to begin to bounce after 1900 and then starts an earnest decline. This would coincide with the introduction of the Public Education System here in the States, as it was imported from Germany. And we all know reading levels have been steadily dropping since it’s introduction.

    • Hadrian999

      if they don’t mind short term losses they could actually do something with the papers, properly managed and integrated with web content they could be useful to them and turn a profit

  • Anarchy Pony

    All the free speech that dirty money can buy!

  • Ittabena

    Well, to me, you don’t buy a paper to sell papers these days, but to get into the game/media cartel. Seems more like the Koch brothers taking the next logical step.

  • emperorreagan

    The Baltimore Sun is a piece of trash and has been for a long time. Don’t know about the others.

    They’ll probably re-organize with centralized reporting/editing, a handful of local reporters but with most of the local coverage outsourced for the entire line of papers.

    • Guest

      test!

  • alizardx

    Libertarian laissez-faire as defined by Koch – taxes are for the purpose of paying subsidies to Koch Industries and other 0.001% projects and for the common defense of the same people against all the rest of us. And only those of us who can’t afford to buy politicians should pay them.

    Even the credible stuff in Reason is intended to support this agenda. Ever see a story there that discusses the need for effective regulation to keep corporate interests from poisoning our food? If Koch puts money into anything, especially if it looks constructive, one should always wonder why.

    The Koch agenda isn’t original to Koch, it’s just an evolution of the agenda in the most important 20th Century Futurist document, the “Powell memo”. (google, including the quotes.) Important because it’s turned into law and regulation as I type. Individual freedom for the non-wealthy isn’t really what they have in mind here.

    While it sucks that they’re buying up legacy print media, they’re buying a product that’s affordable to them only because it’s declining in value. People are increasingly disbelieving the crap we’re told is news. Their takeover of these publication will accelerate that trend. Hopefully, alternative digital products with workable business models that will give us some clues as to “What is really going on?” will evolve.