Open thread for night owls: Koch Bros. out to create a ‘media megaphone’ with dough for Time deal

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

At CommonDreams, Jessica Corbett writes—Alarm Bells Should Start Ringing’ as Koch Brothers Invest $650 Million to Create ‘Media Megaphone

Critics of media consolidation and the fossil fuel industry are decrying an announcement that the media company Meredith Corp., with a $650 million boost from conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch, will buy Time Inc.—which owns Time, Fortune, People, and Sports Illustrated magazines—for an estimated $2.8 billion.

In a statement announcing the all-cash deal, Meredith Corp. insisted that Koch Equity Development—a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the billionaire brothers’ company that’s largely been built through investments in oil, natural gas, and chemicals—”will not have a seat on the Meredith Board and will have no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations.”

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“But not everyone believes the spin,” as Andy Rowell writes for Oil Change International. The Kochs are “some of the biggest funders of groups promoting climate denial and libertarian causes for the last two decades,” he notes. “Alarm bells should start ringing.” 

Denouncing Meredith’s insistence that the Kochs won’t influence editorial content as “rubbish,” Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor, speculated about the magazines’ futures in a Facebook post published Sunday:

The Koch Brothers don’t invest $650 million for nothing. My guess is they intend to use Time and its other publications—which reach millions of online and print readers—to promote their right-wing conservatism. The investment also gives them a way to combine their [cache] of voter information held by a data analytics company controlled by their network, i360, with the publishers’ consumer data.

Mary Bottari, deputy director of the Center for Media and Democracy, told the Guardian she thinks it “a smart move” by the brothers. “The only way they can convince the public not to worry their heads about climate change and to forget about regulating the fossil fuel industry is to create their own media megaphone,” she said. […]

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“The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all.” 
               
~G.K. Chesterton, 1908

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2008He Spoke for the Mountains:

It’s easy to spot lazy, inaccurate performances in the national media. A fairly significant part of what takes place here is spotlighting those times when some millionaire talking head uses the airwaves of the television networks or the pages of some internationally-known newspaper to practice sloppy stenography in place of news.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t still a lot of good journalists out there. We’re still blessed with many hard-working, tough-minded reporters and editors who are more interested in finding the truth than in repeating press releases. Unfortunately, today we have one less.

Tom Gish bought the Mountain Eagle of Whitesburg, Kentucky in 1956. Up until then, the Mountain Eagle was an innocuous local weekly that rarely ruffled a feather. Under Gish and his wife, Pat, the paper’s motto changed to “It Screams.” And it did.

The Mountain Eagle screamed out against corruption in Kentucky politics, against the excesses of coal mine operators, against police who abused their power, against mistreatment of workers, and against destruction of the land. Gish used his paper like a hammer, and he didn’t care whose political fingers he smashed as he pounded out the truth. It didn’t matter if you were a local school board member, or the president of a giant corporation. The Gishes would not back down.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Roy Moore is still out there. Also looming: the Trump Friends and Family tax “plan.” Will they find the votes, or push it back again? Conyers quits committee post. Who’ll replace him? And who’s running the CPFB? Nazi puff pieces? *Chef kissing fingers!*

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