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Happytown: Koch Bros. want to buy Tribune

If it's true, it could put Orlando Sentinel in the hands of conservative political dabblers

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While everyone's talking about unseemly gambling charades in Florida, it's worth noting that they're not just happening here. On March 12, the LA Weekly reported a speculative rumor about chief billionaire political speculators the Koch Brothers that was too juicy to ignore. "It's a doozy wrapped in a bombshell exploding inside a Drudge siren," the Weekly exclaimed. Oh, really?

It appears that the nefarious Brothers Koch are eyeing a journalistic arm for their disfigured conservative octopus of influence, and that arm, the Tribune Co., could possibly include the Orlando Sentinel. According to "multiple sources," the Kochs may be in the running for all $623 million worth of the troubled Tribune's post-bankruptcy newspaper holdings, or possibly even all $7 billion of the company's total holdings. When The Hollywood Reporter ran with the story, a spokeswoman for the Kochs didn't exactly deny the rumor.

"As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors," she said in a statement. "So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor. We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in today's news stories, but it is our long-standing policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring."

Uh-oh. It's not like the Kochs haven't parlayed their moneyed influence outside legislative quarters in Florida before. In 2011, they made waves when they pledged $1.5 million to Florida State University in exchange for control of hiring practices in the school's economics department. They certainly wouldn't want the same control over the newspapers, right? We reached out through the very modern forum of Facebook to a couple of our friends at the Sentinel, and weren't too surprised by their reactions.

"I'm sure they'd appreciate my perspective … right?" Name Taker Scott Maxwell replied.

"I hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also on the short list," added political reporter Mark Schlueb. Good luck, guys!

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