You Did It! Koch Industries ends bid for major US newspapers after public outcry

by Connor Gibson

August 26, 2013

Good news for the half-million people who signed the Coalition to Save Our News petition: the Koch brothers have dropped their plans to buy Tribune Company’s eight national U.S. newspapers.

Greenpeace activists join a coalition protest at the headquarters of the LA Times, delivering 500,000 signatures to the newspaper’s leadership to reject a sale to Koch Industries. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, obtained from Mint Press News.

As the U.S. focused on commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington heading into the weekend, Koch Industries confirmed to reporters at the New York Timesand other outlets that it is no longer interested in purchasing the Tribune Company. Tribune’s eight national newspapers include the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant.

Greenpeace offers thanks and praise to its engaged supporters and coalition partners for all their hard work to keep Tribune’s newspapers out of the Koch brothers’ hands. The full coalition (listed below) includes Forecast the Facts, Courage Campaign, SEIU, Daily Kos, and Free Press.

While we should all celebrate the Coalition’s success, there remain a few unresolved concerns in regard to the newspaper sales that we need to be aware of.

First and foremost, media mogel Rupert Murdoch could still potentially add the LA Times to News Corporation’s collection of influential outlets, which are known for agenda-driven reporting above fact-driven news. Think if the LA Times were to resemble the not-so-subtle opining seen on FOX News or in the New York Post. While Mr. Murdoch faces some regulatory hurdles due to the media monopolies he already holds in the U.S., the Coalition to Save Our News continues to urge Tribune Company’s leadership to reject any sales to News Corporation.

As for the Kochs:Koch Industries isn’t exactly know for its honesty, and the outlet that broke the recent news is the Daily Caller–launched with money from the Koch brothers’ billionaire political ally Foster Friess and run by Tucker Carlson, an “expert” at the Koch-founded Cato Institute.

Still, Koch’s decision not to buy Tribune’s papers is rooted in economics, the primary factor in every business decision made by CEO Charles Koch. As Mr. Koch told the Wall Street Journalon June 5th:

“We wouldn’t be interested in putting huge amounts of money in it on the bet that we can have a miraculous turnaround [of newspapers.] We see it continuing to decline, the print media.”

In addition to Tribune Company’s recent bankruptcy and the struggle of U.S. newspapers to be profitable, Koch Industries admitted thatthe unprecedented public outcry over Koch’s interest in Tribune papers ensured additional liabilities if Koch Industries went through with the deal.From the same Wall Street Journalinterview:

“A person familiar with the matter said theKochbrothers have indicated aninterestin a deal for the Tribune papers but may instead look at other newspaper assets that could be acquired with less political opposition.”

While it is unlikely that Koch will change its mind on the Tribune Company newspapers,Charles Koch’s ideological and political ambitions still include an expansion ofKoch World‘s existinginfluence in the media.See theWichita Eaglefor another previousinterview with Charles Koch that included questions on Tribune Company.

The full coalition behind theSave Our Newscampaign:

Common Cause

Common Cause Maryland

Common Cause California

Courage Campaign Institute




Forecast the Facts

Free Press

The Other 98%


Working Families

99 Uniting

Connor Gibson

By Connor Gibson

Connor Gibson does research for Greenpeace's Investigations team. He focuses on polluting industries, their front groups and PR operatives, particularly focusing on the Koch Brothers.

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