As you read this New York Times story about the Koch Brothers’ apparent interest in making a serious bid for the Tribune Company (publishers of eight local newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune,) ask yourself how outlets like Politico would deal with such a thing.
Ever since the Supreme Court returned free speech rights to everyone with Citizens United vs. FEC, the leftist media — led mostly by Politico — has been on a rampage to smear anyone on the right who engages in big dollar political advocacy. Under the guise of objective watchdogging, the media’s non-stop narrative that claims these conservative groups are “buying the election” is in reality nothing more than a political tactic utilized in the hope of neutralizing political messaging the media disagree with.
And we know this is a partisan push, because the same media obsessed with the Koch Brothers has hardly shown any interest at all in “watchdogging” the Kochs’ counterparts on the left.
The overall intellectual hole in the media’s argument, though, is large enough to drive their biases through. According to the media, the idea of corporations pouring millions into affecting the outcome of elections can only lead to corruption and the thwarting of the will of the people. But isn’t that exactly what the media (and entertainment corporations) are — large corporations pouring millions of dollars into affecting the outcome of elections?
The only difference between Politico and the Koch Brothers is that, unlike Politico, the Koch Brothers are honest and upfront about their political agenda.
But if the Kochs purchase eight major newspapers, Politico and Co. lose their main line of argument, because what the Kochs will be doing is exactly what the owners of Politico, the Washington Post and New York Times do — using a media corporation to get a message out.
That doesn’t mean the Kochs will turn these outlets into Politico-like propaganda outlets for the political right. My guess is that over time these outlets would merely be more inclusive and tolerant of cultural and political thought outside the left-wing bubble.
Regardless, if the Kochs do end up purchasing these newspapers (and for the sake of some much-needed intellectual diversity in media, I hope they do), it will be interesting to watch the brothers’ legion of media enemies forced to find another line of attack.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC