Second-Degree Murdoch: Pollutocrat Kochs Target U.S. Media For Takeover


The NY Times reports today that the Koch brothers are hoping to become media moguls like Rupert Murdoch:

Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.

As if pro-pollution right-wing extremists don’t have enough control over U.S. and global media — see Scientist: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change.”

The papers, valued at roughly $623 million, would be a financially diminutive deal for Koch Industries, the energy and manufacturing conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenue of about $115 billion.

Politically, however, the papers could serve as a broader platform for the Kochs’ laissez-faire ideas. The Los Angeles Times is the fourth-largest paper in the country, and The Tribune is No. 9, and others are in several battleground states, including two of the largest newspapers in Florida, The Orlando Sentinel and The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. A deal could include Hoy, the second-largest Spanish-language daily newspaper, which speaks to the pivotal Hispanic demographic.

Apparently the Koch brothers feel they are getting a raw deal in the portion of the ever-shrinking media not controlled by conservative or corporate interests.

One person … who spoke on the condition of anonymity described the strategy as follows: “It was never ‘How do we destroy the other side?’ ”

“It was ‘How do we make sure our voice is being heard?’ ”

…“A running joke among conservatives as we watched the G.O.P. establishment spend $500 million on ineffectual TV ads is ‘Why don’t you just buy NBC?’ ” Mr. Motley said. “It’s good the Kochs are talking about fighting fire with a little fire.”

Koch Industries has for years felt the mainstream media unfairly covered the company and its founding family because of its political beliefs.

Yes, we aren’t hearing the poor, misunderstood Koch brothers — even though they now outspend Exxon Mobil on pro-pollution disinformation aimed at preventing action to preserving a livable climate, and they fund and help oversee the extremist Tea Party movement.

No, the Kochs don’t want to destroy the other side. They have bigger ambitions.  They want to destroy the planet.

15 Responses to Second-Degree Murdoch: Pollutocrat Kochs Target U.S. Media For Takeover

  1. Henry says:

    I wish they would by the Boston Globe. That paper has really gone down hill in the last few years!

  2. Ed Leaver says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    This is indeed troubling. What Congress may not do, enough dollars can.

  3. Chris Winter says:

    Free Press:

    Massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read. In many cases, these companies are vertically integrated, controlling everything from initial production to final distribution. In the interactive charts below we reveal who owns what.

    According to this article, News Corp is way out in front in financial terms, with $33.4 billion in 2011 revenue.

    Wikipedia notes that “Contemporary research demonstrates increasing levels of consolidation, with many media industries already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms.” It also observes, “In nations described as authoritarian by most international think-tanks and NGOs like Human Rights Watch (China, Cuba, Russia), media ownership is generally something very close to the complete state control over information in direct or indirect ways (see Gazprom Media).”

    According to the Media Reform Information Center:

    In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called “alarmist” for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote “in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media” — controlling almost all of America’s newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market.

    But Koch Industries can’t adequately get its point of view before the public. Damn those liberal media!

  4. fj says:

    The idea is to maintain the illusions of fairness, class and financial mobility . . . democracy; which as always been the case for mainstream media.

    As detailed in Joe Stiglitz’s “The Price of Inequality” widespread belief in those illusions by a deluded American public is far from rational which had been pushed quite far already.

    There will be tipping points and accelerating climate change will be relentless.

    We can move for as cohesive democracy and act on climate change at wartime speed or be duped into Koch ideology and rapidly degenerate into a place void of the rule of law and essentially a failed state.

  5. Sasparilla says:

    Oh Henry, I don’t think we want the Koch’s owning any paper. Everyone said much the same regarding News corp’s purchase of the WSJ – thinking it would (deluded) make things better, which it did not.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    While I can’t say I’m surprised – the boys’ have no limits on what they and their companies interests are entitled to (control of media to the public? no problem) – its very troubling.

    Murdoch doesn’t own large fossil fuel interests and industry…and over these lasts decades if there’s one thing that repeatedly comes out – its that things can always get worse.

    Hopefully they don’t buy any of these properties (the conservative Chicago Tribune actually recommended Obama in both elections…) – although that seems like a bit of a naive wish at this point.

  7. mulp says:

    Who reads newspapers?

    Who pays for news online?

    Where are the liberal billionaires in subsidizing the news businesses?

    Other than the liberals subsidizing public broadcasting and propublica and the NY Times and Boston Globe. Murdock needs to subsidize the news of the WSJ even with its paywall and huge rent from financial data. But the liberal Bloomberg makes more than enough profit from his financial data to subsidize a lot of liberal media other than print – he’s very much in the new media business.

    I can see the Koch’s gaining control of print read by old folk who already vote overwhelmingly Republican even after decades of attacks on Social Security and Medicare by conservative Republicans.

    Didn’t anyone understand the Republican autopsy of their defeat by Obama’s media strategy which organized a vote that overwhelmed the strongly right leaning reliable old people (over 40) vote.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    They recommended Obama because they knew who owned him, and that he would not disturb the plutocrats’ peace of mind one jot.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A ‘liberal’ billionaire is a plutocrat who craves the love of the rabble. His class loyalty to the parasite elite is just as strong as the ‘conservatives’ but he likes to pose as something better. When push comes to shove, however, they hang together, not welcoming the alternative.

  10. Paul Klinkman says:

    A noxious industry (tobacco, nuclear power and other fossil fuels) will lose all of its shareholder equity without government cowardice, and the government subsidies are huge. Billionaires don’t buy or rent news outlets for profitability — if they did, no oil company would ever buy ads on the PBS News Hour. They buy the news wholesale because it’s vital to their $6 trillion potential worldwide extraction that could possibly be canceled by raging democracy. Win and profit, lose and your investment is out of that game.

    At these price points, few news outlets are safe.

  11. Paul Klinkman says:

    To be precise, nuclear ores don’t contain fossils, nor are they made from the carbon of once-living things.

  12. Mike Roddy says:

    We wouldn’t be able to tell much difference with the LA Times, which already does what it’s told. They fired Margot Roosevelt, their excellent environmental reporter, while on assignment in Antarctica a couple of years ago.

    US media is a travesty. Control the message, and you control the people, as all fascists have learned. When the Allied tanks pulled into German towns, the people were surprised, because the radio and newspapers told them that Germany was winning. We are no less manipulated.

  13. BillD says:

    As a environmental scientist and activist who is over sixty, I don’t think that you would get very far without the over 40 year old group. You need to realize that older people are more likely to be in positions of influence and authority than younge people. Winning these battles is only partly a matter of winning a “one person one vote scenario. The fact that young citizents are more open to new ideas is, however, an encouraging point.

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A similar fate looms in Australia. Gina ‘Rhino’ Rinehart, a fabulously wealthy plutocrat and extreme Rightwinger, a friend and confidant of Baron Monckhausen, the Antipodean version of the Koch brothers (both of them at once)has her beady eyes on Fairfax, our somewhat less Rightwing (so far) MSM empire (well, a principality these days). ‘Freedom of the Press’ is a sordid lie in late capitalist pathocracies.

  15. Artful Dodger says:


    Uranium ore is mined from the ground, is non-renewable, difficult/toxic/carcinogenic to handle, and license to be burned only in large state funded and protected centralized industries. And results in catastrophic damage to the environment.

    In every material way that counts, nuclear is the ultimate fossil fuel. And lot’s of C02 is emitted burning building the plants and cleaning up their waste.