Will Bundling of L.A. Times and Sister Papers Fend Off Koch Bros.?
The Los Angeles Times would be a money maker if it wasn't shackled to Sam Zell's disastrous scheme to find synergy with television properties while taking on mad debt.
That era is over now. And today the Times' parent company, Tribune, announced it would spin off all its newspapers into a new, separate entity called Tribune Publishing Co. While this new organization still seems up for grabs, at least one labor leader says the split is bad news for the conservative Koch brothers' interest in buying the West's premier newspaper:
In a statement sent to the Weekly and other outlets, California Labor Federation executive secretary-treasurer Art Pulaski called the move "a setback" for the Kochs, who have expressed some desire to purchase the Times and the Times only.
Perhaps that's because any suitors now must consider a coast-to-coast package that includes the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun Sentinel and more.
In its coverage of the deal, the Times says " ... the papers still could be sold at any time and the idea of the spinoff abandoned."
Still, any push back for the notion of a Koch takeover, the worst Westside white people problem since the 1992 riots, is seen as a victory. Pulaski:
Today's announcement that the Tribune Company is committed to the profitability of its newspaper holdings, including the Los Angeles Times, is a short-term victory for those who believe a free and fair press is vital to our democracy. The announcement is also a setback to the ideologically extreme Koch brothers, who expressed interest in buying the Tribune's newspapers.
There's no doubt the Kochs' interest in the Times and other papers is driven by their desire to fuel an anti-worker agenda through compromising the integrity of some of America's finest journalistic institutions.
The Times spins the move as a way to get rid of some dead-tree media:
The goal is to boost the stock-market value of the broadcast properties by unshackling them from the newspapers, whose revenue has been declining sharply.
But, as we said, the Times seems to do just fine without being saddled with "multi-platform" dreams and billions in red ink.
Sounds like good news to us.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.