Monday, April 22, 2013

Could Koch brothers breathe new “life” into Chicago Tribune? Define “life!”

I have to confess to having to fake outrage at the thought of the Koch brothers potentially becoming the new owners of the Chicago Tribune.

The Koch brothers' new Chicago office? The New York Times seems to think so
Yes, I disagree with the political ideals espoused by the brothers. And I think it would be cheesy for them to use the newspaper as an arm of their own personal propaganda.

BUT LET’S BE honest. We’re talking the Chicago Tribune of Col. McCormick. Seeing the newspaper being used in such a manner might well be completely familiar to the oldest of readers.

Even though McCormick himself died in 1955, it wasn’t really until the mid-1970s that his influence was really eradicated from the publication’s quirks. And there are some readers who are convinced that the conservative tendencies never really went away.

So the idea that the Chicago Tribune is a “conservative” newspaper? What else is new. It just means a different family name atop the mast-head.

Now the reason this is being stirred up again is that the New York Times on Sunday felt compelled to publish a story about how the Koch brothers – who have spent countless millions to try to influence elections with candidates of their ideological ilk – are among the entities who might buy the Tribune Co. publications.

IT ISN’T NEWS that they’re interested, along with several other entities – including Newscorp head Rupert Murdoch. But it seems that most of the business entities expressing interest in the Tribune Co. newspapers being for sale are really interested in buying the Los Angeles Times.

Murdoch himself seems to like the idea of taking over the LA Times just like his people took over the Wall Street Journal a few years ago.

Only the Kochs, the New York Times reports, seem willing to buy all the publications – including our city’s very own Tribune. Which is the preference of Tribune Co. types. They want one huge payday from a mass sale – rather than several deals for smaller amounts and the possibility that a publication or two might not be able to draw sufficient interest from would-be buyers.

Personally, I’d rather see the Chicago Tribune wind up in the hands of someone with an interest in Chicago proper.

BUT IT SEEMS that the only people willing to take on that kind of media property are those Wrapports types who took advantage of the Chicago Sun-Times’ lesser business status to buy themselves a daily Chicago newspaper with a lower price tag than the Chicago Tribune would command.

I don’t know if there is anyone else out there with the kind of whimsy to buy the Tribune – even if it gives them a chance to work out of that 24th Floor office that once was the working place of the Colonel himself!

So we may well get the Kochs as a part of our media scene – although personally I find that as less of a shock to the local scene than the idea that WGN-TV, WGN-AM, CLTV and ALL THE OTHER media properties that make the Tribune a news goliath will no longer be connected to the Chicago Tribune proper.

If anything, such a buy may well ensure the continued existence of the Chicago Tribune brand name, since the ideologically-aligned newspapers in our nation (the New York Post, the Washington Times and others) wind up with ownership who are more interested in using them for political statements and other ego-boosting activities.

WHICH MEANS THE financial bottom-line just doesn’t matter as much. If it did, the New York Post would have died decades ago! And the Times in Washington would NEVER have been created!

And I’ve always taken the attitude that I don’t care if newspapers are blatantly ideological in their leanings – so long as they’re honest enough to admit their biases.

Because the bottom line is that we all can simply ignore any publication that feeds us too much nonsense on its pages or its websites. That IS the real American Way – not the trite trash that the Kochs might choose to spew at us if they succeed in making this purchase.


No comments: