Will Koch brothers help Papa Doug buy LA Times or parent Tribune Co.?

Rumors racing; Manchester, Kochs would probably return Times to bad old days

Today (March 12), rumors are flying on the web that the arch-conservative, multi-billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, may financially help Papa Doug Manchester buy the Los Angeles Times or its parent, the Tribune Co., which recently emerged from a long, agonizing bankruptcy. The story appears to have started in LAWeekly.com today. The author, Hillel Aron, warned, "these are unverified rumors that should be taken with a grain of salt if not a whole dollop." The story has been picked up by Mediabistro.com and Forbes.com, and probably dozens of other publications. LA Weekly says Manchester is interested in buying the L.A. Times or entire Tribune Co., possibly with help from the Kochs. LA Weekly says the Koch brothers may be planning a move on the LA Times, or the entire Tribune Co., on their own. (Rumors about Manchester's possible interest in the Times have circulated before, but these seem to be the first tales about the Kochs going into the newspaper business.)

Forbes points out that multi-billionaire Warren Buffett -- much richer than the Kochs -- didn't want the Tribune Co. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has bought some newspapers of late, but they are a small piece of the portfolio. The LA Times became liberal in the 1960s and 1970s under Otis Chandler, but previous owners such as Harrison Gray Otis were arch-conservative. Of course, the Chicago Tribune, from which Tribune Co. sprang, was once extremely conservative.

LA Weekly calls Manchester "a rightwing multimillionaire who in 2009 bought the San Diego Union-Tribune and promptly turned it into a propaganda organ for San Diego development." LA Weekly quotes a Times editorial writer saying, "To me, Doug Manchester would be bad enough even without the Koch brothers."

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Comments

Every night I say a little prayer that those rich movie moguls up in Malibu and Beverly Hills will just shell out and buy their local Los Angeles Times. The notion that the infamous Koch brothers would aid and abet a Manchester takeover of that still-great newspaper is horrifying. It would be the long-awaited Big One -- a cataclysm for the region.

Monaghan: It would be a cataclysm indeed. Manchester has dictated reportage policy, as well as editorial policy, at the U-T. He would do the same at the Times. He views a newspaper as a propaganda organ. He and Lynch said so upon taking over the U-T, without using the word. I don't think Los Angelenos would stand still for it. I'm not sure San Diegans are. Best, Don Bauder

"Manchester, himself a right-wing multimillionaire who in 2009 bought the San Diego Union Tribune..."

2009? No, it was almost 2012, to be more accurate It was announed in November 2011. If the LA Weekly can't get real facts straight, then what hope is there for its rumors?

Ponzi: Right you are; Manchester made the purchase in late 2011. I deserve contumely, too, on this. I should have caught LA Weekly's error. Best, Don Bauder

This is ALL part of the "media consolidation" going on to buy up radio, t.v. & print media nationwide, spew pro-developer propaganda, and stifle YOUR freedom of speech. These mega corporations are then using the billions they make in advertising to fund their political candidates and promote their agendas. And don't EVER let your community become a "Charter City!" Oceanside is paying the price for having done so. Not only did Papa Doug take over the UT and the North County Times (NCT), but backs Council members (Kern, Feller & Felien) over Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez who were overwhelmingly re-elected by the VOTERS of Oceanside. The result: 3 guys on a City Council pass their own laws, stripping the Mayor of his powers of office and transferring those powers to themselves! Voters can't even post a comment in the UT or NCT without linking those publications to their personal Facebook page or giving Papa Doug the identities & contact info for 2 of their friends!

Lindaslegal: Media consolidation is something to be concerned about. We are already seeing disquieting signs of thought control on a national and local level. Best, Don Bauder

ELI BROAD BACK IN RUNNING FOR LA TIMES, WOULD MAKE IT NONPROFIT. Los Angeles investor Eli Broad is bidding again for the Los Angeles Times, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Multi-billionaire Broad would team with investment banker/former LA deputy mayor Austin Beutner in turning the paper into a nonprofit, according to The Reporter. Broad and supermarket magnet Ron Burkle lost out in a bid for parent Tribune Co. before the 2007 sale to real estate speculator Sam Zell. That deal was disastrous, and the Tribune Co. plunged into a long bankruptcy. Broad and Beutner would consider buying other Tribune properties. A spokesperson for Broad confirmed his interest, partly because he wants to keep the paper's ownership in LA.

Broad and Beutner lean to the Democratic persuasion. The Koch brothers, of course, are arch-conservative, as is Papa Doug Manchester. As reported above, there are rumors that the Kochs will support Manchester in a bid for the Times and perhaps other Tribune properties, or the Kochs could bid on their own.

No surprise hear. Broad commented publicly about a year ago that he would pursue acquiring the LAT once Tribune Co. emerged from BK. David Geffen wanted to turn LAT into a non-profit back when he wanted to buy it a few yrs ago, but I don't know that Broad had similar intentions back then. Broad seem to be getting a bit feisty as he approaches his 80th birthday. He's also trying to take over LAMOCA and partner it with the National Gallery of Art in D.C.

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