David Simon, the former Baltimore Sun police reporter who co-created The Wire and Treme for HBO, has witnessed the demise of the American newspaper industry up close. He took a buyout from the Sun in 1995 when he concluded the downsized paper was heading in the wrong direction, and he spent an entire season of The Wire dramatizing the paper’s missteps after corporate out-of-towners took charge.
Toss in his self-described “left of the Democratic Party” political views, and it shouldn’t be any surprise that he’s not fond of the idea of the Sun and the rest of Tribune Company’s newspapers being sold to Koch Industries, the billion-dollar conglomerate run by conservative businessmen Charles and David Koch.
In a new web video, Simon urges people to sign a Working Families petition protesting the potential sale, which has been rumored for several months. “When I heard that the Koch brothers — bless their hearts — were interested in purchasing newspapers, and the Baltimore Sun, my alma mater, in particular, I thought, well, that’s kind of the last nail in the coffin,” Simon says in the video. “It’s not enough for [the Kochs] to lobby government. It’s not enough for [the Kochs] to influence elections. There’s an awful lot of capital that’s already introduced into our electoral process. Newspapers, the Fourth Estate, are supposed to be outside of that. … Ultimately, the only chance that democracy has, if you ask me, is that somebody stands on the outside of some of the excess and the fraud and basically calls foul. That doesn’t happen if the newspapers represent a particular ideology.”
Watch the entire video below:
READ FULL STORY