Newspaper Union Declares Koch Brothers Unfit to Own Newspapers

On the heels of reports that “half” the staffers at the L.A. Times would resign if the paper was sold to conservative billionaires the Koch brothers, the Newspaper Guild–Communications Workers of America, a journalist labor union, have issued a statement declaring the pair unfit to own a newspaper.

At the end of April, reports on an in-house awards ceremony held at the Los Angeles Times revealed that half the staffers in attendance claimed that they’d instantly resign if their paper was sold to Charles and David Koch, the brothers who have funded many conservative and libertarian causes.

It wasn’t long until the newspaper guild released a statement urging the paper’s owners to refuse to sell the the Kochs and claiming that the brothers “breed distrust” because of their “harsh right-wing positions.”

Naturally, none of these “harsh opinions” were detailed but were just taken for granted–an interesting position to take for a group claiming to have “integrity” in reporting.

Guild Calls on Tribune Sellers to Protect Paper’s Integrity

Recently you’ve seen many petitions asking that the Koch brothers not be allowed to buy the Tribune Company’s newspapers. We understand why the Kochs breed this distrust. They are active political proponents of harsh right-wing positions. We’re also not certain that Tribune will listen to anything but money when the final decision is made.

What we do know is that great papers publish credible, trusted journalism online and on the printed page. Whoever comes to own these mastheads needs to understand that protecting newsrooms from ideological taint is no small thing. The future of American journalism depends on the ability to print truth, not opinion.

We call on Tribune to make a pledge that they’ll only sell to a buyer that will protect the objectivity of the news product by making a public commitment to doing so. The Newspaper Guild-CWA and the Communications Workers of America seek your support in this goal.

Interesting also that the newspaper union seems to think that there is no “ideological taint” already at the Times.

Of course, the history of newspapers in America is replete with owners using their papers as a vehicle for political gamesmanship.

Early in our Republic, for instance, politicians published their very own newspapers to push their political campaigns. As time went on papers chose parties or candidates not just to endorse but for whom to advocate.

In 1940, a group of magazine and newspaper publishers actually formed an alliance to nominate Wendell Willkie as the GOP nominee for president against Franklin D. Roosevelt. Once a self-professed liberal Democrat, Willkie turned Republican just in time for the campaign and didn’t really offer anything much different than FDR.

As time wore on, it became common in most big cities to have one paper that supported Democrats, one that was the Republican paper, and perhaps even one that was nearly socialist in outlook.

With all that rich history of political advocacy, it is laughable that the newspaper guild, started in 1933, would make the claim that newspapers are free from “ideological taint.

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  • GarandFan


    Now there’s a word you don’t see associated with the MSM today.

  • yetanotherjohn

    Obviously, any conservative readers of the LA Times feel the paper’s love for political thought diversity. Those conservatives no doubt recognize that the LA Times goes out of its way to accurately present their side of the story.
    Perhaps if those conservative readers feel that maybe they aren’t as cherished as they should be, they can cancel their subscription. If all three conservative readers of the LA Times do cancel their subscription, perhaps the paper will reconsider their stance on the Koch brothers.
    On a more serious note, if the LA Times is going to resolve their differences in bankruptcy, perhaps the staffers and union officials should bone up on bankruptcy laws. As far as I am aware, there are no provisions that say the highest bidder can be refused because of their political views. Of course, if the Koch did buy the paper and half the staffer quit, that alone would probably help bring the paper back toward profitability.

    • jim_m

      While I agree that conservatives need to have a greater voice in the media, I question the soundness of getting into the newspaper business when they are shedding readers at rates that will make most of these news outlets extinct within the next decade.

      • LiberalNightmare

        It would be pretty funny if switching to a conservative outlook ala fox news or talk radio increased the papers revenue.

  • jim_m

    Because “Shut up” they explained.

  • Meiji_man

    I’m sure the real scare to them is that if they buy the paper, they’ll have ownership to the Khalidi tape.

  • stan25

    I’ll bet if George Soros expressed an interest in buy the LA Slimes, the state controlled media would be shouting from the rooftops that someone of “integrity”was buy into the newspaper business.

  • notDemorRep

    it has been reported that “half” the staffers at the L.A. Times would resign. at least saves time to hire better reporters now if the other 50 percent would start reporting news

    • jim_m

      Let them go. Journalism jobs do not grow on trees and the vast majority of them pay like crap. In fact even the majority of big city newspaper jobs do not pay all that well.

      The median income is somewhere around 35k for a newspaper journalist. The arithmetic average is closer to 39k which suggests that there are a few better paid writers and many lower paid ones.

      These idiots are free to quit and go back to living in their parents’ basements, assuming they ever left.

  • Par4Course

    The Koch brothers seem too savvy to get into the old media business by buying the LA Times. The reason the LAT is for sale is because its parent company is in bankruptcy. Get a clue. Newspapers are America’s past, not its future. Conservatism flourishes at Wizbang, the Drudge Report, the Daily Caller, PJ Meia, The Blaze, and a hundred other sites. Let the journo-libs write their hearts out at the WaPo, NYT, LAT and other print-based publications.

    • fustian24


      But there’s something to be said about getting out the conservative message from media organs that the average person “trusts”.

      • jim_m

        If the average person trusted these news orgs then they wouldn’t be going out of business

        Here are just a few highlights from publications grappling with similar issues in recent months:

        The NY Times recently reported a drop in its profits: “In the first quarter, net income was $3.1 million, or 2 cents a share, down from $42.1 million, or 28 cents a share, in the period a year earlier.”

        The Times Picayune announced last year that it would be changing its seven day a week print publication to a three day schedule, based in part on falling print advertising revenues.

        Newsweek also shuttered its print version this past December, opting for an all-digital format. According to CNN, “Newsweek’s print advertising has been in a steep, steady decline in recent years, plunging by $334 million, or 70%, between 2007 and 2011.”

        The Journal Register, parent to a host of local newspapers, filed for bankruptcy last year after struggling with its print-dependent advertising model: “from 2009 to 2011 Journal Register Company’s print advertising revenue declined 19% and print advertising represents more than half of the of the Company’s revenues.”

        • fustian24

          True, but a conservative newspaper might just enjoy the Fox effect. That is, if you serve an underserved niche market of just about half the population, you might still make a business out of it.

          MSNBC can’t because they compete with all of the other leftist organs. Fox makes money hand over fist.

  • Tom Wolfe

    What a joke! The union is proactively displaying their lack of professionalism and political bias. Does the union have any clue about the difference between the editorial page and reporting the news? Maybe they object to having the paper owned by someone with the financial resources and business acumen to help them be successful in news gathering and reporting. Would they react similarly to being purchased by a wealthy liberal?

  • jester7653

    Let them resign! Saves the new owners the cost of firing them for their “harsh left-wing positions” and incompetent reporting.

  • fustian24

    I should think it is far more important who the Koch brothers think is fit to work on the paper, than who the newspaper union thinks is fit to own it.

  • Rick Caird

    Now, after the reporters put themselves out of a job and onto welfare, might we also see the guild disband and remove its former members from the newspaper business. It is funny to see both groups not worrying about the profitability of the business, but rather about the partisanship of the business.

  • Vagabond661

    Fight fire with “fire them”

  • jim_m

    The leftist fools will all want to flee the profession now that we have the world’s first 100% printed handgun. Now that printing facilitates the second amendment, newspapers can only be perceived as an enabling technology.

    But don’t worry, the dems are responding by outlawing thought. They want to eradicate all information that describes the making of guns. It isn’t enough to outlaw them, the left needs to outlaw the knowledge as well. It reminds me of Pol Pot’s solution in Cambodia: murdering millions of intellectuals for ideological reasons. Today’s American left is not very far from their cousins overseas.

  • Jwb10001

    Imagine how the union would react if the Koch boys determined that the reporters were unfit to work for their news paper.