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Friday, June 7, 2013

Stop the Koch Brothers Big Media Grab, Students Tell UW

Posted by on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 3:08 PM

UW students
  • Ansel Herz
  • UW students brought a mock-Seattle Times cover of the headline they want to see to the college's Treasury office.

Are you scared of the Koch brothers? "You look a little scared. We're really scared," Morgan Currier, a senior at UW, told the university's Associate Treasurer during a meeting on the sixth floor of an office building near the campus on Wednesday. "We're hoping you can weigh in and say you're really concerned that the Koch brothers could own a big part of our media."

United Students Against Sweatshops wants the UW to send a message to Oaktree Capital Management, one of the UW endowment's investment managers: Don't sell the Tribune Company to notorious right-wing industrialists David and Charles Koch.

A portion (neither the university nor the students informed me of how much) of the university's $2.23 billion endowment is managed by Oaktree, which currently owns the largest stake (23 percent) of Tribune Company. The ailing media conglomerate runs the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, six other daily newspapers, and various TV stations, including Q13 Fox in Seattle.

Oaktree is rumored to want to sell off its stake. The Koch brothers are interested in buying. If you're not familiar, the Koch brothers are evil, global-warming-denying billionaires who've poured millions into right-wing campaign coffers. They're America's Rupert Murdochs, or they could be, if they get into the media monopoly game.

Why protest over a bunch of newspapers and TV stations? I asked the students. Don't young people just absorb information by osmosis through the Internet these days? Rachael Shevrin, a sophomore, said she's offended by stereotypes of her generation as uninformed and uninterested in the news. "Traditional newspapers still set the agenda," another student pointed out.

If the UW takes a stand, the decision will come from the university's Board of Regents. A separate group of students calling for divestment from fossil fuels hopes to present before the regents next week, Anna Sarna, the Associate Treasurer, told me. Students have previously pressured the regents into supporting shareholder resolutions against human rights abuses in Sudan and Burma.

Media ownership isn't a moral outrage, though, according to David Domke, a journalism professor and chair of the UW Department of Communication. "Whether it's William Randolph Hearst, Ted Turner, or Rupert Murdoch, it doesn't seem to me to be something that should drive university policy. These are political choices in our society. They don't quite get to the level of institutional moral stand-taking, in my view."

Some Los Angeles Times reporters, evidently, feel differently. They've threatened to quit if the Koch brothers purchase the paper.


Comments (10) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Oh, to be young and think your campus administration gives a flying fuck about undergrads' opinions.
Posted by The CHZA on June 7, 2013 at 3:39 PM · Report this
Um, Rupert Murdoch has been America's Rupert Murdoch since 1985.

Go ahead and let 'em buy all the newspapers they want. The Koch brothers are going to find it a whole lot easier to make money selling toilet paper than printing on newsprint. It'll be the worst thing that's ever happened to their business empire. Maybe they could ask Barry Diller how he's made such a killing owning Newsweek.
Posted by Westside forever on June 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
disintegrator 3
Cute girls.

Not to marginalize the issue.

But man, really cute girls.
Posted by disintegrator on June 7, 2013 at 4:55 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 4
ditto @2.

Murdoch already owns the Wall Street Journal. Do your research.

I'd worry more about this proposed buyout by the Koch's, but the newspaper business seems to be relentlessly heading into the shitter. If the Koch's want to loose money on a bad investment, I'm reluctant to demand a stop to it for political reasons.

I wholeheartedly agree with the students ideals—the Koch's are dangerous lunatics—but I can't work up too much concern for this particular transaction. Maybe I'm just burned out.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on June 7, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 5
Good luck with that :-/

I'd be convinced that they're already paying teabaggy dinguses to comment the shit out of various newspapers if those stupid dingbats weren't already doing that for free.

What libertarian paradise they'll live in when they're taken advantage of.
Posted by Unregistered User on June 8, 2013 at 12:57 AM · Report this
I'm guessing the dudes are going along with the whole thing because the girls are relatively cute and pretending to be a caring white man might let them get her drunk and, maybe, second base.

Or they could have room temperature IQs and actually not understand:
- the difference between Libertarian and Republican.
- that they're being used by the Democrats as useful idiots and free labor.
- they don't have a chance with those girls. Those chicks will be getting it from some non-political bad boys later.
Posted by delbert on June 8, 2013 at 8:52 AM · Report this
NotSean 7
On the Media ran a story on how billionaire asshat Sheldon Adelson purchased a big newspaper in Israel.

He gives the paper away.

Other more objective papers can't compete and die.
His now more Adelson-minded paper floods the market and attains highest-readership. That market is now his mouthpiece.…
Posted by NotSean on June 8, 2013 at 9:03 AM · Report this
Confluence 8
I will never be able to get over how WHITE Seattle white people are. Seriously, that girl holding the paper blends in with it. Never seen paler people as I have in the PNW.
Posted by Confluence on June 8, 2013 at 10:32 PM · Report this
@8 the propensity for German/Scandinavian heritage around here doesn't help things much (I know firsthand)
Posted by The CHZA on June 8, 2013 at 10:41 PM · Report this
Also, fuck, that second guy has a fucking freaky-ass face.
Posted by The CHZA on June 8, 2013 at 10:42 PM · Report this

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