Pearlstein: Tribune journalists should ‘lob a stink bomb’ into potential Koch bid

The Washington Post | LA Observed | NPR

Tribune Co. employees bruised by years of callous ownership have a “golden opportunity to turn the tables on their tormenters and exact some revenge,” Steve Pearlstein writes.

At its heart, any news organization is only as good as the journalists who put it out. Without the journalism, there are no readers, and without the readers there are no advertisers and subscription fees. It all starts with the news and opinions and graphics and photographs that journalists produce. And if those journalists decide collectively to walk out the door one day, the readers and advertisers are almost certain to follow.

Collective action would “lob a stink bomb” into a Tribune sale, Pearlstein writes.

Pearlstein “obviously has never heard about Sunday ad inserts that, sad to say, are the main reason many people buy the paper,” Mark Lacter says.

Of course, there’s no telling what the Kochs might do or how other bidders might respond. … What we do know is that the business case for the Kochs entering the newspaper business is darn near nonexistent and the political/ideological case is shaky at best.

Two people “with close ties to Tribune” confirm to NPR’s David Folkenflik that the Kochs are interested in the papers. Reason Editor Matt Welch, a former Los Angeles Times employee, tells Folkenflik: “It would be such a culture clash, inevitably, between them and the newsroom there that it would be kind of open conflict for a long time. I would have a hard time imagining how they get out of that.”

Several reporters, including David Sassoon of InsideClimate News, told Folkenflik a Koch-funded site (which used to advertise on Poynter) launched efforts to harass them. KochFacts.com “really came after us in a way I’ve never experienced before,” Sassoon says.

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  • JTFloore

    you think warren buffett taking a position on one narrow issue is worth the $400 million — that’s million with an M — the kochs gave to their favorite, uh, “public servants” AND a string of invisible-hand orgs. created to control the politics AND public issues in this country. lol. i’m sure mister buffett will be flattered.

  • JTFloore

    THAT’S what you’re referring to? lol. you can’t be serious. surely you’re smarter than that.

  • BrotherMatthias

    What tripe.

    Warren Buffett. The Buffett rule? You forget already?

  • JTFloore

    I would be very interested to know exactly how warren buffett was “arguably more involved in the 2012 election than the kochs.”

    and by the way, it is crystal clear how the Koch’s feel and what they want. they want a govt that is so small and so powerless that companies like the one that blew up in west, texas can do anything it pleases, the safety of the public and workers be damned. they want wall street and the banks to be allowed to do anything to make a buck, literally anything, even if it means throwing millions out of work and bringing the economy of the united states (and the world) to its knees. no, there’s no mystery what the kochs want, none at all.

  • BrotherMatthias

    It seems an awful lot of “journalists” know how the Kochs feel and exactly what they want — without having ever once spoken to them.

    Freedom went bankrupt and was sold to various buyers. We need a new libertarian news chain that has integrity in the newsrooms — as Freedom did — and a limited gov view on the edit pages.

    It’s that simple.

    By the way, I don’t see the predominantly liberal media whiners complaining about Warren Buffett, the Democrat, buying papers. He was arguably more involved in the 2012 election than the Kochs.

  • hbarca

    Silently standing by while your company is sold for a second time to billionaire(s) who despise journalists and journalism is not an option. Sold to Zell once, shame on them. Sold to Koch the second time, shame on everyone who works at Tribune.

  • BrotherMatthias

    Pearlstein needs to grow up.