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L.A. Politicians Move to Block Sale of Newspaper to Koch Brothers -- Say it Would Be the 'End of Journalism

"A newspaper isn’t just a business it’s also a civic trust."

David Koch, left, 72, and brother Charles, 76. (Photographs by Justin Lane/Corbis, Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images.)

Billionaire philanthropists Charles and David Koch announced earlier this year their interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Times, much to the chagrin of the newspaper’s staff.

Now, three city council members have joined the paper’s staff in protesting the possible sale.

“Three Los Angeles City Council members -- including a candidate for mayor -- asked their colleagues Tuesday to consider pulling city pension money from the investment firms that own the Los Angeles Times if they sell the publication to buyers who do not support ‘professional and objective journalism,’” the L.A. Times reports.

Wait, city council members are now defining what constitutes “professional and objective journalism”?

“Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who called for the council to act, said he was motivated by recent news reports that billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are among those interested in buying the newspapers,” the report notes.

The Koch brothers are notorious for donating large sums of cash to libertarian and conservative political campaigns. For this, they are universally loathed by the left.

“Frankly what I hear about the Koch brothers, if it’s true, it’s the end of journalism,’’ said Rosendahl, a former broadcaster. “I don’t want to see Los Angeles, the second-largest city and the biggest region in the nation, not to have a quality newspaper.”

Rosendahl's motion continues, calling on the council to support a possible buyer who has “demonstrated the highest terms of professional and objective journalism,” the report notes. “It also calls for a report on how the city can use its pension funds and other investments as leverage to achieve that goal.

The motion reads: “We cannot support the sale of the Times to entities who Times readers would view as a political transaction first and foremost, turning L.A.’s metropolitan daily into an ideological mouthpiece whose commitment to empirical journalism would be unproven at best.”

“A newspaper isn’t just a business it’s also a civic trust,” it adds.

Councilman Dennis Zine, who is running for city controller, and councilman and mayoral hopeful Eric Garcetti signed off on the motion.

The council’s Budget and Finance Committee will discuss the motion in a few weeks. If approved, it will move before the full council for consideration.

So, yes, in the words of The Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay: “In order to save journalism, LA [council members] will now decide what constitutes journalism.”

What could possibly go wrong? Here’s the full city council motion:


Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images.

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