Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Man Who Would Be Publisher

Film and rock producer David Geffen really wants to buy the LA Times. Reports the WSJ:

"It's difficult starting a business from scratch," he says. "The next thing I do, I want to buy rather than start from scratch."

That could be the Los Angeles Times. It's no secret Mr. Geffen is eager to buy the newspaper if Tribune, which has put itself up for sale, decides to sell its assets piecemeal. "I would do whatever it takes" to build a pre-eminent newspaper, he says. Mr. Geffen is considered a strong contender to buy the paper, and says he has the means to make a cash bid himself.

"As a guy who is committed to, certainly by the time I die, giving everything I have away, that gives me an awful lot of latitude about what I can and can't do," he says.
The Tribune Company isn't yet ready to sell off assets piecemeal, but if it does, and if Geffen is the buyer, what kind of newspaper would he like the LAT to become?

Let's get rid of the gossipy stuff first. He's gay and he's Jewish, so now we can say even more stupid, inflammatory things about the Jews owning the media, and start spewing the same stuff about gays!

Politically he's a Dem, but not a very engaged one; certainly nothing like Soros -- he gives less money and his giving is generally more moderate. He gave just just $2,700 in the 2006 election cycle, and a totoal of only $96,400 since 2002, according to Open Secrets. Recipients weren't all moderate Dems Jane Harmon and Joe Biden ($1,000 each) -- there were also hard leftists like Maxine Waters ($1,000) and Paul Wellstone ($2,000).

In 2006, he gave $2,500 each to a couple Dem PACS, Our Common Values and Progressive Patriots. In previous elections, and he's supported abortion (Voters for Choice, $5,000).

All that should surprise us from that is that he's not given more. Most of his giving is to medial and educational facilities -- $200 million to UCLA Medical School, for example.

Despite his Dem-leaning, there's one thing in his resume I like:
Geffen's Malibu home on the Pacific Coast Highway has been a battlefront in an ongoing struggle between property owners and beachgoers over access to public beaches in front of private residences. In 2002, Geffen sued to block access to the public beach in front of his home.
A strong stand for private property rights, especially in the face of the California Coastal Commission, gives him a gold star. Ooops, but take that star away: In 2005, he folded under pressure from greenies, withdrew the lawsuit, and allowed public access across his property.

So, what kind of newspaper magnate would Geffen be? A pretty typical one, it appears. Certainly not one who would be too inclinded to bravely bring a less liberal reporting style to the paper.

But he loves LA, something the current ownership certainly doesn't, and he's used to success, so under his ownership, we could look for a more interesting, more comprehensive LAT, but not really a better LAT.

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