Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Chilling Rupert Murdoch Participation In Chandler Bids For Tribune

It can only be regarded as chilling news that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is revealed as a participant in the Chandler family bid for the Tribune Co. Although its interest would be a minority one, and is specifically mentioned as a means of consolidating some Newsday operations with those of Murdoch's New York Post, it certainly cannot be completely excluded that Murdoch also could end up, if the Chandler bid is successful, with some control over the L.A. Times.

The whole thing is quite mysterious, because sources acquainted with Murdoch's role say he does not expect that Tribune Co. will accept any bid from the Chandlers, who have clashed with the company CEO, the inept Dennis FitzSimons. But if he does not expect the bid to be successful, then why is he wasting his time participating in it?

Stalin once remarked that communism fit Poland "like a saddle fits an ox." And the same kind of thing might be said of a Murdoch fit at the L.A. Times. Los Angeles is a liberal city. It is hard to see a Murdoch publication being very successful in Los Angeles. Still, as I say, the prospect that Murdoch could come to have a role at the Times is, indeed, chilling, because his journalistic policies are reactionary.

Meanwhile, it's also reported this morning that the Burkle/Broad bid for Tribune will not actually expire imminently, nor will it be rejected for now by Tribune. FitzSimons told the Tribune Co. staff in an e-mail that a decision on all bids and the future of Tribune will be made by March 31. The Burkle/Broad bid is enticing in respect to its promise of a $27-per-share dividend to shareholders, including the Chandlers.

Ever since it was divulged last week that the greedy Tribune executives have set aside $269 million for themselves as golden parachutes, I've tended to believe the company will be sold.

The reason is that FitzSimons, David Hiller and the whole "axis of stupidity" that has been running Tribune have absolutely no good ideas for restoring the company to prosperity were they to continue to run it. They are failures in the present business environment, and must realize that.

No, I believe there will be a sale, or at least a sale of part of the company.

From the L.A. Times point of view, the best to be hoped for now is a sale of the paper to entertainment mogul David Geffen or the Burkle/Broad interests. They both are based in Los Angeles, they have an interest in the paper, and Geffen, in particular, is liberal in his political instincts and in sync with Los Angeles. Despite reports of an arbitrary temper, Geffen would be the best fit.

A sale to a Chandler-Murdoch consortium would be bad news, reviving memories of how right wing most of the Chandler family has been. It was the family, after all, that did in Otis Chandler and his more centrist branch in the days before the L.A. Times began deteriorating as an editorial product.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, I was posting comments about Murdoch buying the Times six months ago and was totally dismissed on this blog. "LA" is liberal, but most of SoCal is not. Orange County and Riverside are the fastest growing areas, and they are both very conservative. Goodbye Steve Lopez, hello Bill O'Reilly.

1/24/2007 9:48 AM  

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