There’s the contrarian local view; and then, there’s the really contrarian local view. No other way really to frame former LA Times reporter Joe Mathews‘ Zócalo Public Square column arguing in favor of Koch brothers ownership. Mathews’ mother also worked for many years at the LA Times, at one point as an Asia correspondent.
The California editor’s jumping-off point is undeniable – his former employer has become “unthreatening and predictable.” And yes, the arrival of Charles and David Koch, for better or not-worse-than-closure, would change that:
If you doubt that that a polarizing owner can be good for California, let me urge you to visit a certain coastal castle in San Simeon. William Randolph Hearst, who I’m quite sure would endorse the idea of a Koch-owned LA Times, once wisely said, “Whatever begins to be tranquil is gobbled up by something not tranquil…”
Indeed, you could make the case that the Kochs would be the best owners the Times has ever had…
We’ve tended to compare the prospect of a Koch brothers-owned LAT to what Doug Manchester is doing down in San Diego. Mathews touches on the U-T model as he lays out what he sees as the two most probably outcomes of a Charles-David boardroom.
Our only complaint Mathews’ thought-provoking column is the short thrift he gives Eli Broad. True, the billionaire philanthropist is mainly interested in just the LA Times, but there’s surely a scenario there where he could acquire all Tribune Co. papers and then sell off all but the SoCal one.