As reported by Think Progress and others last month, the right wing Tea Party supporting billionaire Koch Brothers are exploring buying newspapers in an obvious attempt to use their fortune to get a mouthpiece to voters.
“Right-wing funders and business industrialists David and Charles Koch may purchase the Tribune Company newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and the Los Angeles Times. The brothers are “interested in the clout they could gain through the Times’ editorial pages,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Koch told the website that the brothers are “constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors”
Daily Kos and others have entered the fray by purchasing an ad in the LA Times, after initially being rejected. They did so by refiling the ad, linking their statements to articles printed in the LA Times that noted “the Koch Brothers bankrolled the Tea Party, denied global warming and bought politicians.”
The Los Angeles Times advertising department has reversed its earlier decision to reject an advertisement from Daily Kos and the Courage Campaign urging the Chicago-based Tribune Company not to sell the 132-year-old Times to the billionaire Koch brothers. The ad will run in the main news section of Wednesday’s edition of the Times….
Tribune, whose merger in 2000 with Times-Mirror Corp., the Times’s owner at the time, made it the second largest newspaper publisher in the nation, has been reported to be considering selling the Times, the nation’s fourth most widely read newspaper, to the ultra-right-wing Kochs.
The Hollywood Reporter first broke this story on March 13, 2013. The Tribune Company has recently emerged from bankruptcy proceedings and is looking for a buyer for their newspapers. As the Hollywood Reporter points out, the Koch Brothers represent right wing politics in the extreme. They are billionaires and own Koch Industries which is currently the second largest privately owned company in the US.
The Koch brothers have long dominated American industry; their holdings include Georgia Pacific paper products as well as major fertilizer, refinery and oil pipeline companies. More recently they have become known for their financial support of Republican candidates, especially those from the Tea Party, and the fight against regulations and legislation aimed at curbing climate change.
The Koch Brothers involvement in the Tea Party however goes far beyond just supporting them. As Brendan DeMille of the Huffington Post in February wrote in an article entitled, “Study Confirms Tea Party was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaire Koch Brothers“:
A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.
Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving climate disruption.
The Koch Brothers represent a threat to the free exchange of news and information and obviously have a history of trying to push their extreme right wing philosophy and politics at any cost and by any means. Their involvement and purchase in any newspaper or other media ownership poses a real threat to a free press, which we know is an ideal, yet special interests pushing their own extreme political biases over objectivity because they have the money and resources to own the media threatens our society and basic democratic values and principles in our country and the world.