Rumors are swirling around the Internet that Koch Industries is hoping to acquire a powerful new asset: The Tribune Company. The Tribune Company owns a large swath of newspapers across America, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Times, two papers with an extraordinary reach.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Koch Industries is considering purchasing Tribune because they are intensely interested in the clout that could be gained through the editorial pages of their papers. However, Think Progress notes that a spokesperson for the company refused to confirm or deny the rumors, stating that they cannot comment on “deals or rumors of deals,” so there is no official word on a buyout at this time.
The decision to purchase a large media outlet like The Tribune Company would be a logical one for the Koch Empire. They would be following in the footsteps of oil giants Chevron, Exxon, and Halliburton, who have all at some point sat on the boards of major media outlets.
A media buyout for Koch would allow them to control the message machine, which could be a disaster for America. In the past, corporate-controlled media outlets have been forced to shelve or otherwise censor stories that could damage the reputation of prominent board members and advertisers, thereby withholding valuable, pertinent information from the American electorate. Owning their own media outlets would effectively silence any critical voice against the Koch brothers in those markets.
To make matters worse for Americans, court rulings have told us that media outlets can legally distort or censor news stories at their whim, as FCC guidelines for honest reporting are not actually laws. In short, the media is legally allowed to lie and hide the truth from American citizens, even when their personal health and safety is at stake.
Koch Industries has already been behind some of the nastiest attacks on clean energy in America, including funneling more than a million dollars into a campaign to defeat a climate change proposal in California. Additionally, they have also been ardent supporters and funders of The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that is responsible for disseminating misinformation about climate change across the country.
The company also gets partial credit for helping establish and fund the conservative Tea Party movement, a plan that has seemingly backfired on Koch as it is now responsible for the fracturing of the Republican Party.
Owning prominent media outlets would only allow the Kochs to further their assault on American values, voters, and our environment. If they are allowed to control the messaging, there will be little remedy for the damage they are able to cause.
It's no surprise that the Koch Brothers are prominently featured for their democracy destroying ways in the new film Greedy Lying Bastards. Watch the trailer below and check to see if the film is playing in your city. And be sure to sign the petition asking Congress to investigate the Koch-funded groups that have delayed action to address global warming.