Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Will we someday get accusations that the Tribune is favoring the Dodgers?

We learned last week that the billionaire (and ideologue) Koch brothers are backing away from any interest they might have had in purchasing the Chicago Tribune, along with other publications, to give themselves a public voice.

Will Chicago Tribune corporate decisions someday be made from Dodger Stadium?
But now, we have to wonder who else out there might be willing to undertake ownership of the one-time “World’s Greatest Newspaper” (which never was, in reality).

WHICH IS WHY I took interest in a Los Angeles Times report indicating that Mark Walter is interested in buying that newspaper, and also the Tribune. Which is a plus, since current Tribune ownership has said they want to sell all their newspapers in one fell swoop.

They really don’t want to split them up in separate sales – which would allow for the potential of local ownership for all the publications.

Instead, it is likely we’re going to get out-of-town ownership of the Tribune when the day comes that it is sold off.

Although in the case of Walter, it isn’t really clear whether he should be considered an out-of-town owner.

HE’S THE CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services firm that claims to control $180 billion in assets. He's an Iowa native, and a Northwestern University law school graduate. But he’s also the controlling partner in the group of people that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

Owning the major Los Angeles ball club (let’s be honest, the Los Angeles Angels are the team of suburban Anaheim) and the major newspaper would reinforce Walters as a significant part of the L.A. establishment.

Although having the Tribune in the hands of someone who’s part of a wealthy Chicago firm could also be a claim for local ownership as well. Who’s to say how this will truly play out?

I suspect it will be perceived as an L.A. guy buying the Chicago Tribune. It may well be perceived as the Los Angeles Dodgers owning the Chicago Tribune.

WHICH MIGHT SOUND bizarre, although let’s not forget the one-time Tribune Co. ownership of the Chicago Cubs. All the times that people got all worked up in claiming that the Tribune newspaper was biased in favor of the Cubs and was doing whatever it could to puff up the image of that loser ball club?

Will we now hear claims that the Tribune is being used by its out-of-town owners to bolster the image of the Dodgers (who, to be honest, haven’t won a thing worth noting in a quarter of a century)?

Will we get the kind of whining that the Tribune isn’t looking out for its home city – similar to the whining we got a decade ago from L.A. people that the Times was being run by Tribune-oriented people?

Will we all have serious migraine headaches by the time all this speculation is complete? Most likely!

ALTHOUGH I’M ALSO wondering if this is going to be the trend of the future with regards to media organizations – which for awhile were buying ball clubs so that they could have more control over the broadcasts of sports events and make bigger bucks off of them.

Now, we’re seeing ball clubs buying media organizations (remember the Boston Globe being purchased by the ownership of the Boston Red Sox?). Could this be a sign that the ball clubs want more control over their image that they’re willing to buy entire news organizations just to run their sports sections?

We should keep in mind that all of this is speculation – what with the way the Tribune officials have said it will be some time (maybe next year?) before they’re ready to deal away their newspapers.

Which means we could easily get some goofier scenario that may make us wonder someday why we were so worked up at the thought of the Koch brothers being in Chicago?


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