L.A. Times Faces Mass Staff Exodus If Koch Brothers Buy Paper


When I heard the Koch Brothers were looking to buy the Los Angeles Times, I thought it would be kind of historically ironic. After all, the paper was founded to serve business interests in the late 19th century, and under the right-wing Chandler family, helped make Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan presidents.

But apparently the staff aren't thrilled about the prospect of working for the Kochs.

At a Los Angeles Times in-house awards ceremony a week ago, columnist Steve Lopez addressed the elephant in the room.

Speaking to the entire staff, he said, "Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Austin Beutner's group." No one raised their hands.

"Raise you hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Rupert Murdoch." A few people raised their hands.

Facing the elephant trunk-on, "Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers." About half the staff raised their hands.

I just don't see how this will work. California is an extremely reliably Democratic state which hasn't gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, and Los Angeles is a liberal city (Obama captured nearly 70% of the votes cast in L.A. County in 2012). It makes sense that California's largest newspaper, therefore, will reflect left-of-center politics.

Maybe the Kochs think they can flip California back to 1968, when Ronnie was in Sacramento and Dick was elected president. But if that's what they're trying to do, it'll not only be a tough sell in L.A., it sounds like they'll have to import editors, writers and photographers from Orange County and Arizona.


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