LA Times Readers Resist Purchase by 'Right-Wing Radical Extremists'

Demonstration in Los Angeles is latest as worry grows that Koch Brothers will buy Tribune company

Protesters in Los Angeles joined the vocal movement aiming to prevent the possible purchase of the Tribune newspaper empire by the billionaire Koch brothers on Tuesday, holding a demonstration outside the offices of the Los Angeles Times which could be part of the deal.

As The Guardianreports:

Hundreds gathered outside the downtown Los Angeles office of Oaktree Capital Management, the largest shareholder in Tribune Co, which owns the LA Times, to deter it from making such a deal. Some carried signs saying "No Koch Hate in LA".

"The idea that the LA Times could be taken over by right-wing radical extremists just boggles the mind," said Glen Arnodo, staff director of the LA County Federation of Labor, as protestors prepared to picket. "It's impossible to believe with their brand of extremism that there would be any objectivity whatsoever."

Charles and David Koch own Koch Industries, a Kansas-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate, and back conservative causes including the Tea Party movement. They funded Republican candidates in last year's elections, through their organisation Americans for Prosperity. They have not confirmed interest in buying the financially troubled organ of a Democrat-leaning, liberal city - spokespersons have declined to comment, beyond saying the brothers respect the independence of journalistic institutions - but rumours of a bid have intensified in recent months.

The prospect has prompted an outcry from readers, commentators, politicians and civic groups. The LA Times's fate matters far more to the city than the current mayoral race, said the Washington Post. Thousands of readers signed a petition against the mooted sale.

And the Los Angeles Timesadds:

Demonstrators carrying signs that read "No Koch Hate in L.A." marched in front of the Oaktree building on Tuesday afternoon. The building's security guards placed yellow security gates in front of two entrances where the protesters marched.

The protesters targeted Oaktree because the firm manages pension investments on behalf of unionized government employees, including those in the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

"We don't want that kind of thing going on with our money," said Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. "That's like us selling you a car so you can run us over."

Oaktree said in a prepared statement that no decisions have been made about a potential sale of The Times.

"Our understanding is that, contrary to recent press reports, Tribune has made no decision to sell the Los Angeles Times or its other newspapers," the statement said. "Oaktree is proud to have helped Tribune and its papers emerge from bankruptcy and appreciates our community's concern for the future of the Los Angeles Times."

Last week, a similar protest took place in Chicago.


Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.