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Unsubscribe: Threat of 'Koch Hate' Spawns 'People's Takeover'

Campaign attempts to outbid the billionaires as readers vow to flee

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

As reports mount that the infamous Charles and David Koch brothers are scheming to purchase the Tribune Company, and hence the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, readers are standing up and saying they will not subscribe to "Koch hate."

(Image: The Other 98%) A new petition, launched by Roots Action along with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), has collected the signatures of nearly 19,000 people who want to tell the Tribune Company, "Don't sell out journalism by selling your papers to the Koch brothers."

Signers vowed to cancel subscriptions if the sale goes through.

“I will cancel my subscription and so will family members," wrote one. "We have no need for propaganda dictated by far right-wing spoiled billionaires with an anti-citizenry, pro 1% agenda. This will be the death of your struggling paper in a town that once had a proud history of journalism. It’s a disgrace.”

“What an ignoble end to two fine papers known for excellence it would be if the Koch Bros. became the new owner," wrote another. "Forget about fairness and accuracy; the papers would simply become the latest bullhorn from which Charles and David would spew their propaganda. Has it come to this? Please don’t sell.”

Others include:

“If you sell to the Koch brothers, you can remove us from your subscription list!!”

“Don’t give up the integrity of your company for a measly few bucks.”

“Don’t let your long tradition of fair reporting be purchased away.”

“If you want to increase the circulation of the New York TIMES in Los Angeles, let the Koch brothers buy the Los Angeles TIMES.”

If this approach does not convince the Tribune Company, a group of activists are proposing a "People's Takeover" of the media organization and have launched an online fundraiser campaign to raise the $660 million to do so.

The Tribune Company is for sale, they write, and "only people who are bidding on it right now are infamous right-wing billionaires, who are likely to pay something around a $660 million price tag to control a big slice of trusted news media."

They continue:

Instead of sitting back an allowing whichever victor to manipulate us through the media, we've decided to stage an intervention. And we want you to join us. […]

That's why it's time for a People's Peaceful Takeover. We're going to buy these newspapers and give them back to their communities.

Together, we can solve or at least begin to seriously address the big problems like how corporate consolidation is killing the newspaper industry.[…]

We need to get the conversation on media ownership started. And what if by some freak miracle we do begin to approach the ridiculous sum of $660 million? What if we really do change the game of Billionaires vs. The Rest Of Us? It can't hurt to try, can it?

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