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Alderman Tries to Discourage Tribune Sale to Conservative Koch Brothers

By Ted Cox | June 26, 2013 10:54am | Updated on June 26, 2013 2:12pm
 Ald. Joe Moore is doing all he can to prevent the sale of the Chicago Tribune to the Koch brothers.
Ald. Joe Moore is doing all he can to prevent the sale of the Chicago Tribune to the Koch brothers.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — First foie gras, now conservative newspaper publishers.

Ald. Joe Moore (49th), the man who led the city's short-lived ban on foie gras, has put forth a City Council resolution trying to discourage the possible sale of the Tribune to the politically conservative Koch brothers.

The non-binding resolution passed the Committee on Human Relations, with Moore as chairman, on Tuesday and was approved without additional debate at Wednesday's City Council meeting.

According to Moore, it urges the Tribune "to sell the paper, if they are going to sell the paper, to locally based ownership ... ownership that does not carry a political agenda."

Moore called the Koch brothers, who have backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, "right-wing ideologues" who have been open about the potential for using media properties to further their political aims.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in June, Charles Koch said he and his brother David are interested in the Tribune, but denied they were trying to advance a conservative agenda.

"There is a need for focus on real news, not news with an agenda or news that is really editorializing," Koch told the Journal.

"If we got into media, it would need to stand on its own and have good economics, create real value and create value for the marketplace, or we wouldn't be interested," he said.

Yet Rey Lopez-Calderon, executive director of the Illinois branch of the national grassroots progressive group Common Cause, called a potential Trib sale to the Koch brothers "an attack on the free press" in that they consider newspapers "ideological platforms for tea-party interests."

According to Common Cause, Charles and David Koch have a $100 billion fortune based on oil refineries. They have expressed interest in buying Tribune Co. papers, including the Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun.

Moore granted that the resolution had little impact but said it was "important to shed light on this," adding that news media should be about "getting the facts and not the spin."