TRIBUNE, ANYONE?: Nonprofit organization The Other 98% has launched a $660 million crowdsourced funding campaign to acquire the Tribune Co. The organization, which challenges corporate influence and threats to democracy, is using crowdfunding site Indiegogo.com, where it has posted a video and is offering prizes to donors. It hopes to pool the small donations to outbid Rupert Murdoch and Charles and David Koch, with the aim of transforming the publishing firm into a publicly owned nonprofit similar to the Green Bay Packers.
The Tribune Co. owns the Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune, as well as other regional newspapers.
Nicole Carty, an activist at The Other 98% who was also involved in the Occupy Wall Street protest against financial greed and corruption, said, “This is a way for Americans to say that they’re tired of billionaires fighting over who gets to control our media. We don’t need them.” She added that if the public can own a football team, “they can do the same with their city’s newspaper. We need to put the ‘free’ back into the free press.”
California unions have also increased their opposition to any sale of the newspapers to the Koch brothers. Some council members have reportedly considered changing the city’s pension investments if the Los Angeles Times is sold to the Kochs.
The Tribune Co. spend four years in bankruptcy and exited Chapter 11 proceedings at the end of 2012. Its chairman, Bruce Karsh, president of Oaktree Capital Management, has been shopping the firm.