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.