BY BUDDY NEVINS
Talking to a friend this week, I asked him if he saw a story in the Sun-Sentinel.
“I cancelled my subscription,” said the friend, who now gets the Miami Herald. “I’m not giving my money to a paper that endorsed Romney and could be owned by the Koch Brothers.”
Charles and David Koch are billionaires who funded everything from the Tea Party movement to union busting, climate change denial and the anti-gun control movement. There have been published reports they are considering buying the newspapers of the Tribune Company, which include the Sun-Sentinel.
My friend is not unique in Democratic-heavy Broward.
Here is a warning to the decision-makers at the Sun-Sentinel:
Talk to your bosses at the Tribune Company. Tell them that if the Koch Brothers end up with the Sun-Sentinel, it would be disastrous in terms of lost revenue as readers and some advertisers flee.
The Sun-Sentinel endorsed Mitt Romney last year. The endorsement was proof that those who run the paper are out of step with Broward’s residents.
The county voted against Romney by better than two-to-one.
And readers, angry at the endorsement, voted against the Sun-Sentinel by cancelling subscriptions in droves, I am told.
Real figures are hard to come by on the Sun-Sentinel grapevine, but several sources tell me the endorsement cost the paper a lot more readers than they anticipated.
So can you imagine what an embrace by the Koch Brothers — a lot more polarizing than Romney — would cost the paper?
When I was a kid in New York City, there were families I knew who wouldn’t allow The Journal American or The New York Daily Mirror in their homes because they were owned by Hearst. Hearst and his columnists like the John Birch Society darling Westbrook Pegler were shrill ultra-conservatives, thus out of step with New York City politics.
Hearst’s politics didn’t kill his New York City papers. But it didn’t help, either.
The purchase of the Sun-Sentinel by the Koch Brothers wouldn’t help, either. The fading Fort Lauderdale daily would lose more readers and even advertisers.
Worst of all, the purchase by such rabid political players could cost the paper whatever creditability it has left.