The billionaire oil moguls Charles and David Koch are pushing ahead with their plans to purchase several news outlets across the United States, according to a detailed report in the New York Times on Sunday.
At a recent seminar in Aspen, one attendee reported that the brothers — infamous for bankrolling conservative candidates and causes — put forth the question of, “How do we make sure our voice is being heard?” Their answer, it seems, will be to purchase the entire Tribune company, which constitutes a huge swath of American print media:
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.
In total, the Tribune company is responsible for eight print publications.
Charles and David Koch’s money has been instrumental in getting anti-climate politicians into office, and in funding anti-climate science studies. The brothers have also funded with the secretive conservative network ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), which has crafted “model legislation” for voter ID laws that limit voting rights, particularly for low-income people of color. The group was also responsible for the so-called “Stand Your Ground” law that temporarily allowed Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, to walk free.
The brothers also tried to influence the latest election by warning some 45,000 employees that there would be “consequences” if they didn’t vote for Republicans.