Report: Tribune Co. thinks Koch brothers' bid for its papers is appealing

The New York Times | Forbes

Amy Chozick confirmed Hillel Aron's scoop from last month: Charles and David Koch are indeed looking at purchasing Tribune Co.'s newspapers. Most of the other high-profile suitors are interested in only the Los Angeles Times, and Tribune would prefer to sell the papers as a bundle, Chozick writes. So, "at this early stage, the thinking inside the Tribune Company, the people close to the deal said, is that Koch Industries could prove the most appealing buyer."

Would Koch-owned newspapers give conservatives a media toehold in Tribune's markets? The "basic idea of buying a newspaper chain in order to change the views of the populace just isn’t going to work," Forbes contributor Tim Worstall writes. "There would be no point in making the LAT a “conservative” newspaper as there’s only about three conservatives in the paper’s catchment area."

That's perhaps an overstatement (is Worstall counting Scott Baio?) but last year, when some were fretting about some Philadelphia Democratic machers bidding for the city's newspapers, Jack Shafer wrote there might be benefits to juicing newspapers with some partisan vigor, like on cable TV:

Just as a pro-wrestling match puts at least two combatants in the ring at a time to make the fight work, TV cable news producers always enlist somebody from the other side for Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow to rough up. A partisan Philly paper that’s in the tank for its owners but listens to the other side wouldn’t be my first choice. But if it were my only choice, it wouldn’t be completely worthless.

Related: Why rich people are investing in newspapers, again | Eli Broad joins former politician’s bid for L.A. Times | Report: Koch brothers interested in buying Tribune papers | Tribune hires bankers to weigh bids for newspapers | Tribune emerges from 4-year bankruptcy, with intent to sell all newspapers, TV stations

Disclosure: A Koch project called used to advertise on Poynter.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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