It’s apparently freaking the right sort of people out.
Let me show you the following quotes from this USA Today article by Michael Wolff on the Koch brothers’ rumored desire to buy them some print newspapers. See if you can spot the internal contradictions: all bolding mine.
- “The Koch brothers, the unimaginably rich and combatively conservative oil heirs, are telling people that they might like to buy the newspapers owned by the recently bankrupt Tribune Co.”
- “…there are many simpler and cheaper ways to get attention for your view than buying troubled newspapers… All of which the determined Koch brothers have done. But that has not, apparently, been enough.”
- “[The Koch brothers] may believe, with some justification, that media, and by that they mean mostly liberal media, is the real government — the cultural advance guard that is changing this country.”
- “Curiously, most of the papers they are proposing to buy are in cities that voted overwhelmingly for the president — cities that have not had a reliably conservative base in a generation or two… Why you would go into a business trying to sell things that your customers don’t seem to want is hard to understand.”
- “Have I mentioned that the news business is not very good?”
So, let’s recap. The print newspaper business sucks; nobody’s buying local papers anymore; the industry is tilted liberal as all get-out; and therefore the very idea that a couple of libertarian (NOT conservative) businessmen could hope to create a commercially viable non-liberal alternative to the current visibly commercially failing ideological model is… apparently absurd to Michael Wolff.
Well, OK then.
PS: I have only one piece of advice for the Koch brothers, and that’s to read Rudyard Kipling’s “The Village That Voted The Earth Was Flat.” If they’re in a rush, they can just read this paragraph:
If Woodhouse knew nothing of journalism, young Ollyett, who had graduated in a hard school, knew a good deal. Our halfpenny evening paper, which we will call The Bun to distinguish her from her prosperous morning sister, The Cake, was not only diseased but corrupt. We found this out when a man brought us the prospectus of a new oil-field and demanded sub-leaders on its prosperity. Ollyett talked pure Brasenose to him for three minutes. Otherwise he spoke and wrote trade-English–a toothsome amalgam of Americanisms and epigrams. But though the slang changes the game never alters, and Ollyett and I and, in the end, some others enjoyed it immensely. It was weeks ere we could see the wood for the trees, but so soon as the staff realised that they had proprietors who backed them right or wrong, and specially when they were wrong (which is the sole secret of journalism), and that their fate did not hang on any passing owner’s passing mood, they did miracles.
I know that that last bit may seem paradoxical, but I’ll be happy to explain it to any random rich conservative/libertarian types looking to buy a newspaper. And I assure you, my consulting fees are quite reasonable.