Whether billionaires David and Charles Koch may, or officially would like to, acquire the is speculative at this time. But that hasn’t stopped liberal activist groups from promoting a petition that hopes to rouse popular opposition against such a bid.
STORY: Koch Brothers Mulling L.A. Times Bid
The petition, by the progressive website The Daily Kos and the L.A.-based Courage Campaign organization, has garnered thousands of signatures. (The Kos campaign shows over 35,000 signatures added, while the Courage Campaign’s site sees a more modest total of 11,000 "actions taken.")
"Millions of people count on the for strong and unbiased reporting, including their endorsements for political candidates and ballot initiatives," wrote Rachel Colyer, an associate campaign director at Daily Kos, in an email to the website’s supporters.
"It would be a travesty to the fourth estate if the Koch brothers are allowed to purchase one of the most respected newspapers in the country in order to peddle their discredited ideas and right-wing propaganda," she wrote.
The campaign says it will send the petition to Peter Liguori, the CEO of Tribune Co. The company recently emerged from bankruptcy and has indicated that it may sell off newspaper assets including , and the .
The billionaire siblings were first reported in mid-March to be interested in acquiring the newspaper by which asked that the rumor be taken "with a grain of salt if not a whole dollop."
The Kochs have been prominent supporters of conservative causes, notably through their backing of the pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC Americans for Prosperity, which reportedly spent $130 million during last year’s the election cycle.
Subsequent reports, including by , have cited sources saying that the brothers may be interested in teaming up with conservative San Diego developer Doug Manchester – who bought the now-renamed newspaper and acquired its rival, to submit a bid.
The Kochs, along with Manchester, are only two of the names that have been mentioned as potential suitors of the .
STORY: Tribune Hires Investment Banks to Sell L.A. Times, Newspaper Unit
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation, has been reported to be interested in adding the paper to a stable of assets that includes and .
reported that billionaire Eli Broad along with former L.A. Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner are teaming up to submit a bid for the paper and turn it into a non-profit organization.
Aaron Kushner, who last year purchased the and previously expressed interest in the , has also publicly mulled acquiring Tribune Co. newspapers, including the .