It appears that the nightmare scenario of two of the country’s most influential newspapers falling under the control of right-wing extremists David and Charles Koch won’t become reality. The Daily Caller today reported that sources are saying the brothers are no longer in negotiations to buy the papers.
Koch Industries will not be buying the Tribune Company’s eight newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times, The Daily Caller has learned.
Sources with knowledge of the business proceedings told The Daily Caller that Koch Industries, after conducting its due diligence, has not been interested in buying the newspapers for “a couple months.”
If this report turns out to be true, it’s great news for defenders of journalistic integrity. No doubt that the Kochs sought to use the Tribune Co. as a megaphone for their anti-worker, anti-environment agenda. The effect of such an acquisition by the Kochs would have been devastating.
Today’s report comes after labor and progressives waged a spirited campaign in recent months to highlight the dangers of the Kochs taking control of the Times and other media outlets. The California Labor Federation, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, SEIU, the AFL-CIO, the Courage Campaign and others spoke out vigorously against the possible sale, raising important concerns about its implications for a free and democratic press.
While this is certainly a positive development, we’re not out of the woods yet. The Kochs could still have a change of heart. There’s also speculation that other right-wing moguls like Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch may be interested in the Tribune Co. Bottom line is that we must remain vigilant in the coming months to ensure valued journalistic institutions like the LA Times don’t fall into the hands of those who would use them to advance an agenda that harms working people.