National Day of Action to Stop the Kochs

If you thought the Koch brothers’ interest in buying the eight Tribune Company newspapers was business as usual, think again.

The Kochs reportedly want to use these outlets to push their extreme political agenda. And on Wednesday, people in the communities these papers serve are speaking out.

In collaboration with the Save Our News coalition, protesters are turning out at events in Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Fort Lauderdale; Harrisburg, Penn.; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Los Angeles; St. Louis; New York; and Washington, D.C.

The coalition of good government groups, environmental groups, labor unions, free speech advocates and grassroots groups involved in the protest includes Common Cause, the Courage Campaign Institute, CREDO Action, DailyKos, Greenpeace, Forecast the Facts, Free Press, SEIU and Working Families.

People are gathering outside the offices of Tribune-owned newspapers, Tribune-owned television stations and principal Tribune investors to demand a press built on hard-hitting journalism — not political extremism.

Essentially, this protest is about good local journalism. The Kochs have long attacked journalists they don’t agree with. Their website, KochFacts.com, is dedicated to discrediting anyone in the media they see as a threat to their partisan goals (or their company’s bottom line).

In 2011, they played hardball with the Pulitzer Prize-winning website InsideClimate News, which had reported on Koch Industries’ ties to the Canadian tar sands business. The Kochs ran ads on Facebook and Google calling InsideClimate News’ publisher a "liar" without providing evidence to support the claim. And they successfully pressured Reuters to reconsider its decision to publish stories from the website.

The Kochs have also funded campaigns that deny man-made climate change, suppress minority voters, and strip workers of their organizing rights. They have quietly funneled millions of dollars to front groups to finance political ads for candidates who share these views. It would be a disaster to hand control of the Tribune papers to a pair of billionaire industrialists who don’t care about their readers — or the practice of journalism.

“All of these places — from Allentown to Orlando, Hartford to Hampton Roads — may be very different, but they have at least one thing in common,” said Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron. “They need more news about their communities being dug up by more local reporters.”

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good