The Tribune Co. auction took an interesting turn with a liberal activist group’s initiative to crowdsource a bid for the newspaper
publisher in order to keep it out of the hands of people it describes as untrustworthy plutocrats.
The group, called The Other 98%, has launched a crowdsourced fundraising effort on Indiegogo.com, which aims to raise $660 million to buy Tribune and convert it into a publicly owned nonprofit organization. That works out to roughly $2 for every person in the United States.
In a four-minute video explaining their goals, spokeswoman Nicole Carty warned against letting Tribune fall into the hands of media mogul Rupert Murdoch or the billionaire Koch brothers, all of whom are known for conservative views.
Noting the successful public ownership strategy of the Green Bay Packers, Carty stated: “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. If the public can successfully own a football team, they can do the same with their city’s newspaper.”
Last week two other liberal activist groups, Courage Campaign Institute and Forecast the Facts, launched an advertising campaign to oppose the Koch brothers’ rumored bid for Tribune, with ads on the Web sites of the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times (for readers in the LA area). The ad showed the Koch brothers, Charles and David, alongside Tribune chairman Bruce Karsh and Oaktree Capital chairman Howard Marks, manipulating the LAT on puppet strings, with the headline “Save the Newspaper!”
The ad encourages readers to sign an online pledge to stop reading and subscribing to the newspaper if Tribune sells it to the Koch brothers.