In a video message on Thursday, award-winning TV producer, director and former journalist David Simon (“The Wire,” “Treme”) urged members of the public to fight the acquisition of the Baltimore Sun by billionaire corporatists Charles and David Koch.
“When I heard that the Koch brothers, bless their hearts, were interested in purchasing newspapers,” said Simon, “and the Baltimore Sun, my alma mater, in particular, I thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of the last nail in the coffin.'”
[Ed. Note: Simon is employing a Southernism here, “bless their hearts” is something you say in polite settings about someone you have contempt or pity for. For example, “Bless his heart, he’s so ugly he has to blackmail his feet to get them in bed,” or “Bless their hearts, they’re so broke they have to borrow money to pay attention.”]
“There’s a lot of damage that’s been done to print journalism in the last 15 years, 20 years, much of it self-inflicted,” said Simon of the newspaper business. Management, he explained, went to Wall Street to learn how to stay afloat, and ultimately made the same sorts of mistakes that reckless speculators did with the economy.
“Wall Street’s always right in the short term,” Simon continued, “in terms of quarterly profits, profits over a year or two, they were absolutely right. You could put out a sh*ttier newspaper and make more money, and they did so.”
But when Simon heard that the “ideological” Koch brothers were eyeing the Tribune newspapers, he felt that something had to be done.
“Ultimately, the only chance that democracy has, if you ask me, is that someone stands on the outside of some of the excess and the fraud and calls it out,” he said. “That doesn’t happen if the newspapers represent a particular ideology. In the case of the Koch brothers, it happens to be very rightist, libertarian.”
“I would urge everyone to sign the petition sponsored by Working Families against the Koch brothers or anyone else from out-of-town acquiring your hometown newspaper,” Simon concluded. “You can’t have a great city without a great hometown newspaper. They run together.”
Watch the video, embedded below via Working Families: