Jones points out that longtime New York Times publisher Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger was a political conservative, but kept his distance from newsroom operations, cognizant of the Times' largely liberal readership. Likewise, News Corp. (NWSA) Chairman Rupert Murdoch, he said, has been careful not to turn the news pages of The Wall Street Journal into a New York Post-style bullhorn for his conservative politics.
"Murdoch knows that he can't make the Wall Street Journal a propaganda rag, that he can't turn it into the New York Post or it will be money down the drain," Jones said in a phone interview this week from Boston. "If the Koch brothers go in and undermine the traditions of the L.A. Times as a news organization, it won't matter what their politics are, they will kill something that gives it the real value and respect it has. They will have wasted a lot of money, and probably will not succeed."
Tribune hired Evercore Partners and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) in February to explore a possible sale but hasn't said when or if a sale will take place. Likewise, the company hasn't said whether it may sell the newspapers as a group or separately, a notion favored by those aware that few buyers besides the Kochs have a half-billion dollars to spend on newspapers in the year 2013.
Written by Leon Lazaroff in New York