Having Spent Millions Influencing Three Branches of Government, Kochs Look to Buy Fourth Estate

by Brendan Fischer: PR Watch  – April 24, 2013 – 8:27am


The billionaire industrialist Koch brothers have spent tens of millions for decades on a long-term plan to reshape the legislative, executive, and judicial branches according to a corporate-friendly form, and may now make inroads into what is often referred to as the fourth branch of government: the press.

The New York Times reports that the Kochs are considering a purchase of the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, which would give them control of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune as well as papers in electoral battleground states.

Newspapers have been losing advertising dollars for years and have never been particularly profitable, so the potential purchase is not about generating revenue. It is instead about controlling the discourse.

A source who attended a major Koch political strategy summit three years ago said the goal “was never ‘How do we destroy the other side,'” but instead, “it was ‘How do we make sure our voice is being heard?'”

News outlets with an ideological slant are nothing new. But news outlets that act as an arm of a wider operation to reshape the American political landscape means a press that is less “free,” and less able to check special interest influence over government.

“Kochtopus” Influence is Widespread