…almost whatever the price.
At a Los Angeles Times in-house awards ceremony last week, columnist Steve Lopez addressed the elephant in the room.
Speaking to the entire staff, he said, “Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Austin Beutner’s group.” No one raised their hands.
“Raise you hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Rupert Murdoch.” A few people raised their hands.
Facing the elephant trunk-on, “Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers.” About half the staff raised their hands.
That half would be the half the Kochs would want to fire anyway. So if they quit they’d be saving the Kochs money.
Flipping the Tribune Media Group, which doesn’t just include the L.A. Times but also the Chicago Tribune, and putting all these low-life leftist pond scum people out of work (probably not for long, mind you, because the closest thing to immortality in this world is the career of a lefty journalist), would be a service to the public.
Certainly, we’re not opposing to people quitting a job. If you hate your boss, you probably ought to quit. If you can’t work for someone whose philosophy differs from yours, then it’s understandable that you should quit.
The fact that a newsroom at a paper so widely-circulated as the L.A. Times is populated with so many people who find the Koch Brothers too repugnant to work for – when Koch companies have a great reputation as being good places to work and Koch companies tend to make fat profits and do well by their employees who own stock through ESOPs or other profit-sharing programs – is why it’s great that the Kochs would buy those papers in the first place.
What’s interesting about this is the fact that the controversial nature of politically-conservative investors buying these papers will likely drive their price above a level at which a return on investment can be had. But for the Kochs, whose current enterprise is worth some $115 billion, price is really no object. This is a play for political culture; an attempt to bring back some sort of balance in the media.
And that’s badly needed. Because even if the Kochs can’t turn the L.A. Times into a West Coast version of the Washington Times or the Boston Herald, they’ll be doing a service by running off – one way or another – the clowns who brought us the “Mitt Romney doesn’t know why airplane windows don’t roll down” controversy and the fantastic decision to run pictures of American troops holding body parts of blown-up Taliban fighters while neglecting to publish the Jyllands-Posten cartoons which caused Muslims to riot.
That would improve American media. We need a lot more of it. Here’s hoping the Kochs are the winning bid for Tribune Newspapers – as improbable as it might seem for that to happen.