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Ed Driscoll

In the 1920s, H.L. Mencken wrote, “It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics.”

Modern “liberals” want nothing of the sort, and they will defend to the death the right to both ideological purity, and to be left alone to legislate a city into the ground:

Three Los Angeles City Council members — including a candidate for mayor — asked their colleagues Tuesday to consider pulling city pension money from the investment firms that own the Los Angeles Times if they sell the publication to buyers who do not support “professional and objective journalism.”

Since emerging from bankruptcy last year, Tribune Co. — which owns eight newspapers including The Times and 23 television stations — has been guided by a board of directors that include its largest creditors. It has been widely reported that the directors are interested in selling the newspapers, preferably all together.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who called for the council to act, said he was motivated by recent news reports that billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are among those interested in buying the newspapers. The Kochs in recent national elections have provided major financial support to libertarian candidates and causes.

“Frankly what I hear about the Koch brothers, if it’s true, it’s the end of journalism,’’ said Rosendahl, a former broadcaster. “I don’t want to see Los Angeles, the second-largest city and the biggest region in the nation, not to have a quality newspaper.”

What exactly do you “hear” about the Koch brothers? Or do you always get up in front of City Council and speak purely based on your fellow leftists’ Alinsky-style demonization of this week’s Emmanuel Goldsteins?

Beyond that, what could the L.A. City Council be hiding, since it is admitting that the Times in its current form is a paper tiger, without the claws or the inclination to investigate potential corruption amongst their fellow “Progressives?”

And why “if true,” does it represent “the end of journalism,” when, if the Koch brothers produce a product that the marketplace rejects, it will create an opening for a paper that the citizens wish to purchase?

Or as Ace writes today:

“Natural market forces” do not demand that the Chronicle be left-of-center; rather, reporters at the Chronicle demand it be left-of-center.

These reporters are not serving their client base; they’re serving themselves. They’re not reflecting the preferences of their readers, but only their own.

This is nothing but protection of a particular ideology’s power base. There is no “natural” reason that a media must be left-leaning, but leftists are goddamned determined that it remain so.

If natural market forces mean that all media must be liberal, someone should tell those California Democrats to stop using artificial, ideological state power to keep a leftist power-base in line. After all, natural market forces should take care of it on their own schedule, no?

* It occurs to me that the Founders kept the US from becoming a “city-state,” if you will, dominated by one great city, when they insisted that the political capital of the United States should not be one of its commercial, financial, and population capitals. In the early days of the fledgling Republic, the “capital” famously circulated around a whole heck of a lot before moving permanently to a converted no-man’s-land of a swamp straddling two different states.

And so the political power center of the US was kept physically separate from the financial, commercial, and media power centers. Until recently, at least, when the media-government-corporate power centers decided to merge because People Just Can’t Think For Themselves and Because Socialism Is Teh Future.

At least the socialists of the past acted like they had a bit more confidence in the future they were building than their latest incarnation. But then:

But political correctness puts blinders on all of us, not the least of which on those who employ it themselves:

Update: In Reuters of all places, Jack Shafer, who used to write one of the better columns at the Washington Post-owned liberal Slate e-zine, adds:

Koch opponents fear they’ll turn the Los Angeles Times into a “conservative mouthpiece,” as one anonymous source put it to Media Matters’ Joe Strupp. Casting the Kochs as conservatives, which Garance Franke-Ruta (the Atlantic), Michael Wolff (USA Today) and David Horsey (Los Angeles Times) do in their recent pieces, makes them sound totally out of tune with cosmopolitan Los Angeles. Such a case can be made, of course, if you track the Kochs’ campaign donations and political philanthropy. They’ve given richly to Republican candidates and the party’s presidential nominee Mitt Romney, they’ve funded controversial climate science research and they’ve supported Tea Partiers.

But this portrait of the Kochs as proponents of smaller-than-small government and deregulation isn’t complete without a mention of their libertarian views — their long history of pairing fiscal conservatism with social liberalism. Politico acknowledged that wrinkle last year in a piece about David Koch in which he spoke in favor of gay marriage, defense cuts and military withdrawal from the Middle East. Hardly the views of a hard-core conservative. If these notions were smuggled into Los Angeles Times editorials or even (gasp!) news pages, would many of the city’s orthodox liberals reject them as propaganda? Last year, Charles Koch’s hometown newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, treated him to a soft profile in which they allowed him to espouse his opposition to corporate subsidies, high defense spending and corporate cronyism. He also accused his fellow corporate CEOs of cowardice for not espousing economic freedom. “He also never says anything about religion, abortion, immigration or gun rights,” the Eagle obliquely added.

These are the ultraconservatives the Los Angeles Times newsroom so fears? Go ahead and disqualify the Kochs from owning the Los Angeles Times because they’re too rich for their own good, but not because they’re batty conservatives or leading members of the right wing or hard right. Those labels don’t apply.

Shafer’s column is titled, “Who’s afraid of the Koch brothers?” Why, the same people at the L.A. Times whose ancient motto is “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” and then look the other way as their city crumbles to the ground in the 21st century.

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