The Koch brothers should totally buy those papers.

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.

Moe Lane

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.

7 thoughts on “The Koch brothers should totally buy those papers.”

  1. Liberal newspaper columnists need to understand the classical reference of “Keep doing what you’ve always done, keep getting what you’ve always gotten” and how it relates to their industry.

  2. Heh. I stopped subscribing to the Chicago Tribune when I found myself spending more time correcting logic errors in the articles – not the editorials, the *articles* – than I was actually learning what’s going on.
    I sometimes check because they do a pretty good job with local stories, but .. the bias is still very annoying.
    What made papers work was “Who, What, When, Where, Why” .. what’s killing them are reporters who bend Why to fit their bias, and editors who let them.
    Who trumps the editors? The publisher. Koch should buy ’em out and teach ’em the difference between liberal and libertarian.

  3. Not sure if it is included here, but there was an article in the Atlantic talking about how the demographics and political leanings of metro areas cause the papers to be more left wing. I couldn’t stomach the whole article, but I did find it interesting.

    The only thing that I keep going back to is, that these papers are both really liberal and really unsuccessful. So how do you square that?

    I have also been thinking recently that the GOP’s move to surrender metro areas to democrats is a bad move as the news in metro areas does tend to drive news cycles. I am not sure how that relates to this article, but somehow there might be a connection.

    1. I would love to see the internals of that Atlantic nonsense.
      Every single metro area I’ve visited contains, like an enchilada, a rotting urban core that is quite welfare-liberal, surrounded by varying bands of conservatives.
      Blue-collar areas that are pro-union are also pro-defense and pro-2A; white-collar areas that are anti-union but pro-defense pro-growth .. usually sprinkled with some limousine-liberals; interspersed are various churches promoting pro-values; and once you reach the exurbs, libertarians.
      The Atlantic’s demographics suggest that they’re either blind, or they’re catering to those limousine-liberals that make up their own target demographic…
      A more .. conservative/libertarian (there is quite an overlap between fiscal conservatism and libertarianism) .. paper would sell quite well outside the rotting urban cores as even the private-sector union rank-and-file understand that they need growth.

  4. If liberals really think the newspaper business is dying, they shouldn’t be upset that conservatives are wanting to buy newspapers. After all, they’d just be wasting their money, wouldn’t they?

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