Duke student urges trustee not to sell Tribune’s newspapers to Koch brothers

Duke University student Lucas Spangher had a 40-minute phone conversation with Oaktree Capital Management CEO and Tribune chairman Bruce Karsh – a Duke grad and trustee – about the possible sale of Tribune’s newspapers to the Koch brothers.

Karsh and Spangher

Karsh and Spangher

“The conversation was fairly unproductive or negative,” says Spangher, a former Duke Chronicle columnist whose interests include green energy technology. “His primary purpose for calling me [back] was to explain his side of the story rather than listening to my arguments.”

The Duke newspaper reports:

Spangher is personally opposed to the sale because the Koch brothers have given money to support scientific studies that will deny climate change. A group established by the brothers—The Koch Foundation—has been a significant funder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, which aims to address criticism of the planet’s temperature record.

Spangher says he told Karsh that “students are watching — Duke is aware of the situation.” He adds: “I appreciate the things he’s done for Duke, but if this goes down, there could be student action.”

A Chronicle editorial published today says:

If Karsh endorses the sale, he risks undermining the work done by countless students, from environmental activists to journalists, at a University he clearly cares very much about. We hope Karsh will not take this risk. We encourage him to reassess his options, consider his responsibility to Duke and society at large, and refuse to sell Tribune to the Koch brothers.

* Karsh mulls sale of Tribune newspapers to Koch brother (dukechronicle.com)
* Editorial: Say no to Koch brothers (dukechronicle.com)

Also: Selling the Star Tribune to the Koch brothers some day “could happen” (minnpost.com)