The idea of swallowing down morning coffee alongside some front-page libertarian bloviation courtesy of a Koch-owned Sun Sentinel isn't sitting too well with some. Last week, we sent out a smoke signal about the possible media sale everyone is talking about: The South Florida daily's parent -- the Tribune Co. -- is currently shopping for new owners. David and Charles Koch are on the short list. And now some locals are voicing their digital discontent with an MoveOn.org petition.
And as far as MoveOn.org petitions go, this one is pretty serious -- both in aim and effect, at least so far. The title spells it all out: "Stop the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from being sold to the Koch brothers." The recipient will be Peter Liguori, CEO of the Tribune Co.
"The Koch brothers have devoted their fortunes to bankrolling climate change denial, union busting, and Tea Party," Emily Southard, one of the people behind the petition, wrote in an email last week to Fort Lauderdale-area members of MoveOn. "Now, they want to expand their radical right-wing propaganda to communities across the country by buying and 'Fox-News-ifying' local papers, including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel."
(We're actually a little miffed we didn't think of "Fox-News-ifying" first -- nice touch.)
There's a specific agenda at work here. Southard and the other backers are part of Forecast the Facts. According to the group's website, it's a "grassroots human rights organization dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change." They've got other petitions going about the Tribune Co. sale as well. They're not big fans of the Koch bros.
"In 2010, when out-of-state oil companies, including Koch Industries, bankrolled Prop 23 (the attempted repeal of California's first-in-the-nation global warming law) it took great coverage and a strong editorial by the Los Angeles Times to defeat it," Southard wrote in her email. "Now the carbon kings want to buy the Times and other major assets in order to push their radical Tea Party agenda on the general public."
Here in South Florida, the online call to arms is making a bit of a splash. As of Monday night, the petition had already hit 619 signatures. The stated goal is 750, so they've already knocked off a good chunk. But countrywide, these numbers are a little low -- the group's Baltimore Sun petition now has 4,873 names out of a hoped-for 5,000; a petition for the LA Times set up by a different group has more than 17,000 names.
Still, out here in South Florida, where the relentless sun seems to burn just about everybody down to an apathetic pile of mush, it's nice to see people actually taking the time to voice concern over who pulls the strings at their local media outlet -- even if it means taking less than a minute to fill out an online petition. No one is exactly levitating the Pentagon here.
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