Last month Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries, expressed interest in purchasing Tribune Comapny newspapers, including both the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, causing well founded concern that such a move could propagandize much of the news media in the state and further deepen the influence of their right-wing agenda. At the time there were protests, and some working for the Los Angeles Times said they would quit if the purchase went through.
Yesterday Koch surfaced again and said in an interview with the The Wichita Eagle that the purchase is still a possibility:
“It’s possible,” Koch told the Eagle. “It’s not on the front burner, but it’s possible.”
Koch Industries' interest in the Tribune Co. newspapers has been rumored for weeks. But Koch told the Eagle any plans are at "square one."
“We are at square one on that," he said. "There are tremendous changes going on in media, in taking media as a whole, all forms of communication. We’re back at square one analyzing where is the most change, where are the best opportunities for new entrants to come in and add value? And so newspapers are one, but there are all sorts of others. There’s the Internet, there’s TV. There’s entertainment. And so we don’t know where we’ll end up on that.”
Contrary to what is known of Koch's record of using their money machine to force their ideology in business, public policy, and politics, it was hard for many to keep a straight face when Koch said this last month on the possible "investment" in the newspaper industry:
“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.”
Let's hope the Kochs never make it to "square two" in their news media adventure.