South Florida news junkies can rest easy: the Koch Brothers are not going to buy the Sun-Sentinel. After a handful of months stuffed with speculation, the hard-liners from the right wing have reportedly given up on the idea of purchasing the Tribune Co., citing concerns about whether the dead tree outlets were "economically viable." This hoses down the anxiety that led to a series of protests outside the Sentinel this year, but also leaves open the question about what's next for the paper.
The Daily Caller -- also known as the worst news outlet in the country -- has the scoop. According to the site, Charles and David Koch sat down to crunch the numbers on whether they could indulge their inner Citizen Kane fantasies. The possibly spoils included the Sentinel, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun.
But like a lot of business-minded bros, when they actually opened the books, the Kochs were like "WTF, newspapers, you only make that much money?"
Specifically, the Caller says the issue that torpedoed the Koch-Tribune marriage was the company's involvement with CareerBuilder.com and Classified Ventures LLC. These two web-based side businesses actually make up half the Tribune Co.'s revenue. But both sites are actually co-owned by the company with other newspaper big timers like Gannett and McClatchy. A Koch Brothers buy would possibly upset the arrangement, hurting the Tribune Co.'s business.
So what's the bottomline on all this? Basically the Koch Brothers were interested in spreading their Tea Party agenda across the country like two kids trying push their pieces across a Risk board. But the truth about a lot of these 21st Century media empires is that they are propped up not by journalism, but side action (the Washington Post included).
When the Koch Brothers' interest in newspapers first broke, a number of liberal groups began protesting at papers, including here in Fort Lauderdale. The irony is that even though they were greeted with such anger, the Koch Brothers actually had the money to own the Tribune papers, maybe even would have dumped some money back into the products. Would we really have hated a Koch Bro-owned Sun Sentinel that fattened up the newsroom with staff? Of course, but secretly we would've been happy to see money going back into journalism, instead of the other way around. Really, there's about ten dudes in the country who can afford these kinds of shinny toys. This shrinks the list down.
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