Now the Kochs target newspapers | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Now the Kochs target newspapers

Posted By on Sun, Apr 21, 2013 at 7:27 AM

The billionaire Koch brothers have a massive imprint, from energy to forest products to multi-tentacled political front groups including the likes of Americans for Prosperity, important in the Republican takeover of the Arkansas legislature.

It ain't enough.

Now they want to control the messengers, too.

NY Times reports on their interest in buying major newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Los Angeles Times.

As in most things, for people with the Kochs' money, I'd note that Arkansas could be bought cheaply. A good offer to Walter Hussman and Warren Stephens and, in a twinkling, the Kochs would control the editorial voice of most of the daily newspaper circulation in Arkansas. I hasten to add that's not on the table. Yet anyway.

The Times observes on the Kochs' interest in the Tribune newspapers:

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. 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.

One person who attended the Aspen seminar who spoke on the condition of anonymity described the strategy as follows: “It was never ‘How do we destroy the other side?’ ”

“It was ‘How do we make sure our voice is being heard?’ ”

Also: How do you make sure there are no other voices, or voices so weak they can be easily outshouted by a conglomerate of legislative lobbyists, political pressure groups and dominant news media.

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