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Roger L. Simon

Will the Koch Brothers Save Los Angeles?

April 30th, 2013 - 12:11 am

What may no longer be a litmus test for Los Angeles is New Deal/Great Society-style economics.  Even some of the more devout liberal true believers are beginning to face reality.  Keynesianism isn’t working — from Athens to L.A.

Los Angeles, when I arrived back in the early 1970s, was one of the most powerful cities in the world, the media and lifestyle capital for the planet.  It is now the shell of its former self, its pothole-filled streets and cracked sidewalks lined with empty storefronts, its freeways crowded and outdated.

No one knows how many are really unemployed and I don’t think anyone wants to know.  The statistic would be too stark, as are the statistics for unfunded pensions, etc., which leave Los Angeles and California teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Something has to change and you would think that would be fertile ground for the free market-oriented Koch brothers.

Another rap on them is that they know nothing of the newspaper business.  But even that may be an advantage.  The newspaper business has been in freefall for some time.  Unbiased fresh eyes might do something to save it.  No one else has.

So I look forward to a Koch brothers takeover of the LAT and hope it happens.  Some of this is personal.  I have a nostalgic fondness for the L.A. Times.  I used to write for it frequently in the past and it helped-jump start my writing career with rave reviews of my first Moses Wine novel The Big Fix and of the film I co-wrote with Paul Mazursky, Enemies, A Love Story. Other books of mine appeared as front-page reviews in their now defunct book section.

Of course that changed when I went to the right.  I’m persona non grata now to the Times.  Not a word appeared about my memoir of political change.  I understand space is limited, but I don’t think it’s too excessive to say that as a hometown boy, I deserved better.  I have strong reasons to believe — even to know — that they no longer wanted to hear from me.

I expect to be treated better under a Koch regime — not favorably, just equally.  That would be a good libertarian approach.

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Top Rated Comments   
The problem with buying a newspaper like the LA times is what do you do with incompetent staff and where do you get replacements. If you talk to a current Journalism/Media school graduate and ask the about the "five fingers" of reporting their eyes just glaze over. If I were king I'd hire people with real investigative experience, police officers who have retired, quit, or will quit. Oh year the "five fingers" are "Who,When,Where, What, and Why."
"Just the facts Mam, just the facts."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting thought experiment.

Would truth outsell The Narrative in a town that doesn't want to know and cannot stomach facing the truth?

Would actual investigative reporting turn a bluer than blue city, purple?

I predict that if the Koch brothers bought the LA Times, the initial cancellations by the "open-minded" cultists for whom the Agenda Media is mother's milk would be trumpeted by the other members of the Agenda Media as "proof" this won't work.

Truth? They can't handle the truth.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Am laying it on the line, waxwing01, and you'll thank me for it someday: Odds are that no one on this site understands what you're getting at. Ever.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (63)
All Comments   (63)
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Could the protest really just boil down to the paper's unions getting busted and the times being the only major paper with no union workers? There is no reason to believe that the Kochs could not work with the unions, but there is every reason to believe that they would not submit to union bullying. The unions would not dare strike and without that threat, what power do they have and soon who would want pay dues?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When the famous ChickfilA incident came out, the LAT gave space to an opinion piece worthy of the NY Times in length. The author went on about how CEOs should not interject their personal views in business, citing examples of other CEOs doing the same as being correct, just having a differing opinion. I could not (did not want to) finish the piece, but marvelled in its length. Then, I found out later that Truett Cathy the CEO of ChickfilA made his comment on a religious channel, in response to a question. The LAT does not interest me. They need a bailout and a makeover. They need to be remade into a newspaper again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The stakes are higher than they look. L.A. is a bomb waiting to go off. The unemployment-rate is high, the politics are problematic, the urban population is enormous, and the government is out of money.

If/when California can no longer pay welfare, I expect to see roughly 1-2 million desparate people. They will either turn to crime or move. Crime would pretty much destroy the city, and then those people would have to move once there is nothing left to take. The movement would be a wave, not a trickle, so they would take their culture with them, taking them out of L.A., but not taking L.A. out of them. The L.A. emmigrant-communities would bring its problems to every major city in the U.S. I would expect this to begin with California's Bay Area.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not a good buy for the Koch's. There are not enough conservatives in LA to support a newly conservative paper and the Mexicans do not read so, there you go.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I once lived in the Globe-Miami area in Az . Miami was mostly Mexican Americans and globe was mostly anglos. I went to try to buy a paper in Miami only to find none for sale. Your observation might not apply to all Mexicans but this is a real example. Not only that but there were very few illegals in the town, most had been there for several generations.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Koch bros are about the Koch bros, nothing more, nothing less. If you are for their economic interests, bless. If not, too bad so sad. Personally, I am tired of rich people steamrolling the rest of us because they have so much money. Your vote, my vote, doesn't matter, because the money boys, right and left, control the game.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Right used used to hate the Koch brothers because they were soft on Communuism (think Ron Paul). I thin kyou are accusing with no evidence.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I too hate to see this formerly lovely city deteriorate.
Scenes from my car:
Empty storefronts on Wilshire and Rodeo.
Foreclosed, abandoned homes in Beverly Hills.
Huge SEIU sign dominating the skyline in East L.A.
Big green self-congratulatory signs erected by pols at every civic space.
Spring Street: hobo hell.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder if any state or Federal regulatory agencies will have to agree to this deal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Once upon a time Los Angles and the greater area had a real News Paper called the Herald Examiner. Who, what, where, when and sometimes why but the quick facts and short informative columns rather than constant editorials, but that is my opinion but I miss that paper to this day.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually Los Angeles is in remarkably good shape, given the national and world economy. Central LA and Hollywood are in a definite renaissance. I have no idea why or how.

As to the LA Times, my parakeet having died years ago I've had no great reason to look at it for about ten years. What would the Kock brothers do with it? Take the same money and start a new project primarly web-based, I say, unless maybe they can buy the name alone for a song.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Poor liberals- KOCH busts all their silly whines- KOCH is so proSCIENCE that he funds the NOVA series- busts the homophobia lies they cling to so dearly- how I dearly hope they do buy the LAT and reslease the Khalidi tapes - wanna see Obummer weasel his way outta that evidence of his MB collusion
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would imagine that if the Kochs sign on the dotted line, that tape will disappear in a NY minute, never to be seen. Ever.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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