Recently the word got out that Koch Industries was considering the purchase of Tribune Co. newspapers, which includes The Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, setting off protests and alarm that the move would turn newspapers into propaganda machines fueled by the Koch ideology.
Charles Koch recently addressed the issue in, where else, The Wall Street Journal:
“There is a need for focus on real news, not news with an agenda or not news that is really editorializing,” Mr. Koch said in an interview.
Mr. Koch added in a follow-up statement to The Wall Street Journal that the editorial page of any newspaper his company acquired “would be a marketplace of ideas where all sorts of approaches to public-policy issues are vetted and contrasted, and there could be ongoing debate.” That, he predicted, “would ultimately improve newspapers as a business proposition.”
The first comment is laughable considering the source. Yes, there is a need for "real news" without an agenda." But does anyone who knows anything about the Koch brothers, and their partnership with ALEC, (informally known here as The Florida Legislature, Florida Governor Rick Scott, and his cabinet) who write virtually all Republican legislation in the country right now, really believes he means that? Of course not.
Given that they own most of the Republican Party, and spend millions during election season to "acquire" more members, and any other time they want to muscle through policy issues, it's a real stretch of the imagination that they would refrain from "editorializing" if they were to get into the newspaper business. They created the Tea Party after all, and were the leading force to kill ObamaCare before it became law, just for starters.
As far as honoring the separation of editorial departments from the news departments as newspapers do, I don't see any hope of that in a "Koch Sentinel" (or a "Daily Bircher?"). Koch all but gives that one away in his gushing statement concerning policy issues and debate in improving "newspapers as a business proposition.” Somehow I don't see much "debate" over an issue that would benefit a Koch Industries competitor popping up in a Koch owned newspaper. Business is business.
Florida already has Rick Scott at the helm in what he thinks is the job of CEO of Florida, Inc., and who sees the State in terms of profits and privatization, and its people as trapped, but expendable consumers. To aid him further with propaganda factories, including one in the now Democratic I-4 Corridor, would only hasten the disaster.
Floridians have had it with Rick Scott as it is. The last thing they want is more of the same in the form of Koch propaganda masquerading as "real news."
(Photo: Martha Jackovics)