Register acquired by Obama supporter from Massachusetts; will a “Balanced” Opinion Page result?

The Orange County Register, perhaps the largest “Libertarian” paper left in the nation, has been sold to a Massachusetts investor who acquired several other Freedom Communications dailies.  The deal is expected to close in the next 30 days.

While the Register does a very nice job of covering their own acquisition, let’s turn instead to how this story is playing out in very Liberal Boston.  Boston.com reports:

Aaron Kushner, the buyer who made part of his wealth in greeting cards, and the 2100 Trust, a group that includes former newspaper executives, earlier this year tried to buy Maine’s largest newspaper company, including the Portland Press Herald, but talks collapsed with the paper’s unions and management.

Kushner and the 2100 Trust in the past have expressed interest in buying the Boston Globe but has not had serious talks with the New York Times Co., according to people briefed on the matter.

Freedom’s hedge fund owners have been selling off its news assets since the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2010. The company has recently announced the sale of its newspaper groups in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina.

The company also sold eight TV stations last month to Sinclair Broadcast Group for $385 million, a deal that helped cover Freedom’s debt.

“The Freedom newspapers are among the best in the business with top notch reporters, editors, and business staff,” Kushner said in a statement. “We are honored to get to work with them and help support them. Our plans begin with serving our communities, and we will do everything we can to ensure the staff has all the resources necessary to continue producing great journalism.’’

He also said, “As we see opportunities to buy and support other compelling franchise newspapers we will actively pursue them.”

Politically speaking, the Register’s new owner has made financial contributions to President Obama and Vice President Biden as well as several Republican candidates.  LA Observed expects him to be a hands on owner.  Folks in Maine were a tad scared of Kusher’s political leanings.

More scary is Aaron Kushner. His donations include $4,600 to Obama, $1,000 to Biden and $2,000 to Howard Dean. Even scarier than Kushner is Peter Brodsky. He has recently donated $2,400 to Sen. Chuck Schumer, $4,800 to Harry Reid, and in 2008 he donated $2,300 to Mrs. Clinton, $2,300 to Obama, $2,100 to John Edwards (Ugh!) and thousands more to lesser Democratic candidates.

From this snippet on a 2011 Boston Magazine profile on Mr. Kushner:

A self-described Boston “newbie,” he lives in a $1.7 million house in Wellesley with his wife and three kids. After growing up in Georgia, he attended Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in organizational analysis, and starred on the gymnastics team. His first break came during the Internet bubble, when in 1999 he sold a company he’d started — MyMove.com, which allowed people to change their addresses online — to Imagitas, a business then based in Newton. It was that deal that eventually brought Kushner to the Boston area. A few years later, he and a business partner started looking around for other acquisitions, which led them to a greeting-card company in Wareham called Marian Heath. (Kushner’s grandfather and great-grandfather had both been in the greeting-card game.) Kushner and his partner bought Marian Heath in 2002 with funding from the Walnut Group, a Cincinnati investment company, and Kushner became CEO.

We hope this change in ownership recognizes some of the exceptional jouranlists and editors the Register has on hand.  That, editorially speaking, the paper’s opinion pages become more broad in scope as opposed to narrow.  Orange County is home to more than 500,000 registered Democrats, many who have given up on the paper due to a strong conservative bias on this editorial pages.  Newspapers should be a place where converging ideas are debated and discussed.  But “Freedom” communications can only restrict the speech from the left.

So one would hope a liberal columnist or two graces the pages.  That science of global warming and climate change is reported accurately instead of reports denying its existance paid for by petroleum companies.  That honest and open debate emerges from the left and the right.  The LA Times runs Jonas Goldberg.  The Wall Street Journal runs lefty columns on a regular basis.  The New York Times has a policy to run more letters from conservatives than liberals.

And most importantly, we hope Mr. Kushner invests in the paper.  You cannot get addition from subtraction — cutting journalists cuts the quality of news and readers will know it.  Give us a good product, and we’ll buy it.  Broaden the paper’s perspective and more readers will embrace it as a source of news about our home in Orange County.

  11 comments for “Register acquired by Obama supporter from Massachusetts; will a “Balanced” Opinion Page result?

  1. June 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I was one of those that quite reading The OCRegister because of it’s unbalanced and clearly propaganda-leaning conservative content. Here’s hoping we can start to have a more diverse conversation.

  2. Dan Wooldridge
    June 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I’ve waited for over 50 years to witness change in the ownership of the Santa Ana/Orange County Register. They have become a more creditable newspaper in their news coverage, but editorial page coverage remains lost in the libertarian Stone Age. Hopefully, the new owner/Publisher will take a hands-on approach to learning about all of Orange County-not just the beach hideaways and haunts of the 1%. But, it should be better, I hope.

  3. RHackett
    June 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    The ironometer has its needle pegged over that one.

    Adios to luddite central.

  4. June 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    At last!!! The Register is owned by someone who has made political contributions to a Democrat… in this case, Obama in 2008:

    http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/aaron-kushner.asp?cycle=08

  5. June 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

    “So one would hope a liberal columnist or two graces the pages. That science of global warming and climate change is reported accurately instead of reports denying its existence.”

    Really?

    In the 1970’s the MSM – Main Stream Media – got instructions to push ‘global cooling’ hysteria and to scare to gullible masses on the likelihood of another ‘ice age’. The 4 minute video below is an excerpt from Congressional Hearings.
    http://dailybail.com/home/president-obamas-top-scientist-an-inconvenient-truth-for-sen.html

    More at http://larouchepac.com/greenfascism
    With the change in the OC Register ownership there will be less Libertarian lies, half-truths, and distortions, to be replaced with Fascists, or Marxists lies.

  6. MikeM128
    June 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Funny, You don’t see an article saying that the LA Times needs to have a more balanced editorial page. Liberals will not be happy until they control 100% of the media.

    • RHackett
      June 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Because the LA Times routinely posts opinions that from conservatives or take conservative positions.

      Conservatives have done a remarkable job of claiming there is a liberal media.

      There is no liberal media. There is a moderate media and a conservative media, but no liberal media.

      • MikeM128
        June 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        To the MSNBC loving liberal I would consider all media right wing zealots. Anyone that does not believe that there is a left leaning bias in the media needs to be checked for a pulse.

        Throw out Fox and MSNBC and look at everything else. The news media has turned into reporter opinions and not a reporting of facts. Or more importantly they like to report 1/2 the facts or twist the facts.

        If you think the media was soft on Bush and hard on Obama then there can not even be an intelligent discussion about the subject.

        I actually pay to receive both the Times and the Register. I enjoy the Libertarian bent at the Register for a change of pace. It is one of the only publications that is closer to my views.

        Either way, I have had to learn to determine the writers bent in order to determine what is fact from fiction. The reason why Fox News is number one is because everyone knows they are right leaning but they let the left speak. They give you a better shot a trying to form an opinion. Some people appreciate being allowed to think for themselves.

        I think I want a really cynical news reporting agency that translates and points out the lefts lies and the rights lies and clearly articulates the true facts. That might be a fun change of pace for a while.

        • June 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm

          Might I suggest a book from Eric Alterman called “What Liberal Media?” which documents the media is only as liberal as its conservative owners allow it to be.

          And Hackett is right; the LA Times runs Jonas Goldberg regularly. Same isn’t true for the Register with a liberal columnist.

        • RHackett
          June 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

          I’ll prove my point.

          I think you will agree that some of the current tenets of liberalism are being pro-choice and support of organized labor.

          Can you link to any Op Eds in the LA Times that support both of those positions?

          In fact, please feel free to link an Op Ed supporting those positions in the NY Times, Washington Post, or any other outlet that is considered the so-called “liberal” media.

  7. junior
    June 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    If there is a change in the Reg to a “balanced” view – it will be a bland view.

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