Koch brothers getting all the attention, but what about Murdoch?

murdoch4.jpgHe must be having a good chuckle over how his interest in the Tribune papers - especially the LAT - is being all but ignored because the Kochs might be interested in making a bid and they might be successful and then they might influence news coverage. Today's NYT story doesn't even mention a possible Murdoch purchase - even though News Corp. is the more obvious (and some would argue more unsettling) prospect for owning the Tribune properties. Why aren't the politicians - as well as newsroom staffers - taking aim at him? It's worth remembering that Murdoch blew everyone away in 2007 with a $5 billion bid for Dow Jones, parent of the WSJ. The offer was a 65 percent premium to what Dow Jones stock was trading at the time. Given how cheap the Tribune papers are being valued (around $600 million at last count), he could easily do the same thing this time around. Well, not so easily: Murdoch would face a serious regulatory roadblock over rules restricting ownership of newspaper and television stations in the same market (including L.A.). Yet he's managed to overcome similar obstacles in the past. From Eric Alterman in the Nation:

One member of the Baltimore Sun staff wrote Jim Romenesko that "Murdoch, at least, is a newsman," a view that was echoed nearly word for word by a Chicago Tribune journalist: "Murdoch, for all his flaws, is a newspaper man." True, but by the same logic, Jack the Ripper was a lover of the ladies. Murdoch may be a "newspaper man," but he is surely not a man who respects honest journalism or even the laws of society as they apply to it (or much else, for that matter).


Murdoch allowed, and then proceeded to defend, the unconscionable publication by his tabloid, the New York Post, of a front-page photo of two innocent people attending the Boston Marathon beneath the screaming headline "BAG MEN," with the massive subheadline: "Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon." This was not merely a mistake; it was a deliberate falsification of information that the FBI had made available to all journalists. Unsurprisingly, both men were brown-skinned. Also unsurprising to longtime skimmers of the Post's front page, this "story" came shortly after the paper had falsely portrayed yet another dark-skinned-but-innocent individual, this one a Saudi, as a suspect in the bombing. (The paper also multiplied the actual death tally by a factor of four, claiming twelve fatalities.)

Actually, I think it's doubtful a Murdoch-owned LAT would look anything like the NY Post. A more likely template is the NY edition of the WSJ. The Times could do far worse.

More by Mark Lacter:
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Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent Newspapers stories:
Kushner deal for Press-Enterprise goes through
LANG staffers will have a way around the pay wall
Read the memos: Tribune and LA Times to reorganize, make more cuts
Pay wall to go up at LA News Group papers
Sale of Riverside paper to Kushner fails to close

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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