Coalition Protests Tribune Sale to ‘Radical Right Wing’ Koch Brothers

Group is also opposed to the sale of the papers to Rupert Murdoch

A coalition purporting to represent more than 6 million members has aligned to try and stop the sale of Tribune Co. newspapers, including the L.A. Times, to the Koch brothers.

Common Cause, Daily Kos, Free Press and Courage Campaign are among the groups protesting the sale to the conservative financiers, calling them "radical right wing ideologues."

A sale of the company is considered imminent.

The group said that ownership by the Koch brothers would undermine public access to trustworthy news. It warned that ownership by "two of the most influential and radical right wing ideologues in the country will skew trusted news sources to further their interests and debase our democracy."

Also read: Koch Brothers, Right-Wing Ideologues, Serious About Tribune, L.A. Times Bid

It further said that "intensely partisan activists could not be trusted to provide an honest account of a wide variety of issues that are of vital importance to the public."

Charles and David Koch have funneled millions into conservative causes. They are the only known interested bidder for the group of newspapers owned by Tribune. Other local billionaires bidders have expressed interest in buying the L.A. Times only. 

Tribune Co.'s eight newspapers include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinel in addition to the L.A. Times.

The coalition also took some shots at Rupert Murdoch, and expressed opposition to his ownership of Tribune papers.

"We already know what happens to news coverage when the ideology of an owner is placed over informing the public," the coalition said, warning that a sale to the Koch brothers "would create another Rupert Murdoch, and make papers like the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune look more like Fox News and the New York Post."

It urged the Tribune board not to sell Tribune Co. newspapers to the Koch brothers, Murdoch  "or other potential buyers who cannot be trusted to accurately provide information to the public."

Murdoch is reportedly interested solely in L.A. Times ownership.

Coalition statement follows…

New Coalition Representing Over Six Million Members Forms To Stop The Sale Of Tribune Co. Newspapers To Koch Brothers

 

The potential sale of the Tribune Co. to the Koch brothers has brought together a large and diverse coalition of groups opposed to ownership by the right wing billionaires.

 

May 8, 2013-Allowing the Koch brothers to own the Tribune Company newspapers, the second largest newspaper publisher in the United States, would further undermine public access to trustworthy news. That is why so far, 250,904 individuals have taken action to stop them and save our news.

Millions of Americans rely on the news outlets currently operated by the Tribune Company to provide them with accurate, unbiased information about pressing issues in their communities and around the world. Ownership by two of the most influential and radical right wing ideologues in the country will skew trusted news sources to further their interests and debase our democracy.

Any news outlet owned by such intensely partisan activists could not be trusted to provide an honest account of a wide variety of issues that are of vital importance to the public. The Koch brothers have worked for years to benefit their bottom line at the expense of the everyday Americans. They have donated millions to organizations and politicians that deny climate change[i], attack campaign-spending limits[ii], dismantle worker's rights[iii], promote discriminatory voter ID laws[iv], restrict access to health care[v], and increase income inequality[vi].  In doing so, the Koch brothers have shown a willingness to repeatedly and egregiously mislead the public.  Allowing them control of important, respected newspapers to further their agenda will make an honest public discourse on these, and many other important issues, impossible.

We already know what happens to news coverage when the ideology of an owner is placed over informing the public. This sale would create another Rupert Murdoch, and make papers like the LA Times and Chicago Tribune look more like Fox News and the New York Post.

We the undersigned are committed to ensuring communities have access to trustworthy news sources, and will continue working to protect media outlets that serve the public. Selling the Tribune Company newspapers to the Koch brothers, or any other party so clearly driven by ideology, is antithetical to the public interest.

Therefore, we call on Peter Liguori, Tribune Co. CEO; Bruce Karsh, Chairman of the Tribune Company Board & President and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management; Howard Marks, Co-founder and Chairman of Oaktree Capital Management; John M. Angelo, CEO of Angelo Gordon & Co.; and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase not to sell the Tribune Company newspapers to the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch or other potential buyers who cannot be trusted to accurately provide information to the public.

Signed:

Karen Hobert-Flynn, Senior Vice President, Common Cause

Rick Jacobs, Founder and Chair, Courage Campaign

Becky Bond, Political Director, Credo Action

Daily Kos

Daniel Souweine, Campaign Director, Forecast the Facts 

Craig Aaron, President and CEO, Free Press

Dan Cantor, Executive Director, Working Families