Zell And Satan Talk About Buying Tribune Company

Chicago real estate bigshot Sam Zell and international despot Rupert Murdoch were mentioned today in separate stories about the possible sale of Tribune Company. The piece in the Trib says Zell has not made a bid on the company but has entered into "preliminary" talks to see if a deal could be put in place, probably involving some sort of partnership between himself and the McCormick Tribune Foundation, which is run by current and former Tribune Company execs, including former Chairman John Madigan and current Chairman/CEO Dennis FitzSimons. The possible involvement of Murdoch, meanwhile, was reported at chicagobusiness.com. Like a feral cat who’s sniffed out the alley behind restaurant row, Murdoch has been prowling around the edges of this affair. His name has come up in connection to the Chandler family, former owners of the Los Angeles Times, who sold out to Tribune Company a few years ago, becoming Tribune’s largest shareholder. Murdoch is interested in "working with" the Chandlers on their bid to buy. So sayeth the devil:
"We are interested quite openly; and frankly, if we could do something — not too expensive — that will lead to a joint operating agreement between the New York Post and Newsday."
(Newsday is a Tribune property.) Nowhere in either of these stories are the Cubs mentioned specifically, and given how little I really understand of the five or six paragraphs I’ve just written, I would have to guess the future of Cub ownership will remain mostly cloudy until a deal for Tribune Company is actually struck.


Now, more than ever, I am rooting for Mark Cuban to take the team

Or maybe Oprah?

How about a Draft Oprah effort.........

I don't want Murdoch anywhere near the team that I've loved since I was old enough to not take afternoon naps.. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions regarding him and his businesses, of course, (and mark my words, we'll hear them all, over the rest of today...) but my own vote is to keep him the hell away. The grief that his presence is about to inspire in this message thread would simply continue every day, day after day, for as long as he owned the team.

And that said, I'm going to bow out of the rest of this discussion before it starts. Time to get my dental checkup.


So what's your problem with Rupert Murdoch other than your obvious political repugnance to him?

My sense is that all of the potential buyers mentioned in this post are interested exclusively in the Trib's publishing assets. Murdoch in particular only seems interested in acquiring Newsday. I'd guess that if a deal was completed with any of these buyers, the Cubs(and probably the TV assets) would be immediately spun off to a third party.

newscorp couldnt take a chunk of the TV holdings the trib. holds in a lot of markets without further manipulating the FCC rules for market ownership.

the corporations have already done their damnest (especially sinclair) to homogenize our media through manipulation of the FCC (the same FCC that was created to be a steward of the public ownership of the airwaves, but like a lot of government works for the businesses with the public as an aside).

while ownership of subsidiaries could be bought, a complete merger is highly unlikely cuz its doubtful it'd be approved by govt. regulators as it stands.

News Corp didn't do a particularly wonderful job running the Dodgers. I don't think that begs for outright hatred. More Cubs, less personal political preference, please. I come here specifically to avoid that.

its not a political preference, its reality and its going on around us whether we involve ourselves or not...they would prefer that we didnt.

the FCC is supposed to be the steward of the airwaves according to the FCC, not me or my preference.

i could write a 10 paragraph critique of public trust vs. corporate use of our airwaves, but that would be inserting the politics.

it is the FCC that "protects" us as of now from large entities owning a huge chunk of an area's media. in the case of Sinclair, its obvious why this is a good thing unless you have a political agenda that matches Sinclair's.

I could pretend there were no political considerations behind my editorializing, but that wouldn't be honest. However, my issues with Murdoch have at least as much to do with the character and tenor of his media outlets, like the NY Post. Or, closer to home, what he turned the Sun-Times into. In my judgment, the S-T has never recovered from the Murdoch years. It would be a damn shame if the Tribune took a similar turn.

Z — February 7, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

More Cubs, less personal political preference, please. I come here specifically to avoid that.

crunch — February 7, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

its not a political preference

I can't speak for Z, but I'm assuming his political preference reference was geared towards CubNut naming Murdoch "Satan" and a "despot."

I'm one who actually enjoys Fox News, but that's not why I think that reference is a bit ridiculous. You could have called Ted Turner Satan and I still think it's out of place on TCR.

Just my opinion.

This is completely off the subject but is of interest to those who are interested in the Cubs minor league catching corps.

The Cubs signed a catcher (who will be 29 in March) out of the independent leagues to a minor league contract. He's a local. Former RiverHawk, Kevin Ciarrachi.

The catcher, who played 2002-05 in Rockford, finished last season with Joliet of the independent Northern League.

Ciarrachi, a Lombard native, played college ball at Northwestern and the University of Northern Iowa. The New York Mets took him in the 17th round of the 1999 draft. He spent 2000-01 in the Pittsburgh farm system.
Ciarrachi was a Frontier League all-star in 2004, when he hit .259 with no home runs and 25 RBI for the pennant-winning RiverHawks. He hit a career-best .333 in 2005 and retired in spring training last year. The retirement turned out to be short-lived. He split 2006 between San Diego of the independent Golden League and Joliet and batted a composite .301 with two homers and 13 RBI. Ciarrach is a career .266 hitter.


im not even gonna get into a murdoch convo...

i'll just say im happy he keeps his political and "boss" control over certain areas of his holdings and stays hands-off in other areas. from a baseball standpoint, i cant complain much about Fox Sports or scout.com.

...except for Scooter...

CWtP: I did mention the Ciarrachi signing in an article here at TCR a couple of weeks ago, but thanks for providing some additional info about the young man.

You're the best Az Phil.

I want only three traits in the owner of a professional team that I follow: (1) a willingness to spend enough to win; (2) a desire to win that at least matches the desire to maximize profits; and (3) an ability to hire the right people. That's it. (Oh, and cheap beer at the stadium.)

I could care less about political preferences or affiliations, or whether he is a "good guy" or not. It doesn't matter, not even one bit. George Steinbrenner is a meddling loon, but he passes the three-pronged test above with flying colors. (Not sure about the fourth.) He wants to win and he's willing to pay for it, and that's all that should matter if you're a Yankee fan. This isn't college sports, where "the program" is something to be valued; this is professional sports, and winning is the thing.

If Murdoch would be a cheap or profit-obsessed owner of the Cubs, then I would have a problem with him. But even his critics must admit that he has a proven track record for being a shrewd businessman who has a real knack for knowing his audience and giving them what they want.

Look, I have no idea whether Murdoch would be a great owner or not. But my point is, neither does anyone else, so it's a little premature to dread him.

I look at it this way. We all share a common dream, for the Cubs to win the World Series. None of us have the money to really control that dream; that's left to TribCo or Murdoch or Cuban or whomever. And one day an owner will steer this organization to the Promised Land and we will be along for the ride. In a very real sense, we will use that owner's money to realize our collective dream. So, why not use a guy like Murdoch? Again, as long as he passes the three-pronged test, bring him on.

I'm not going to get into the politics of it, but my main negative image of Murdoch was forged when I heard him say this:

"The greatest thing to come out of this [the war in Iraq] for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country."

Then I just pretty much figured he was detached from the whole thing in a very negative way, and I wrote him off as an idealogue. There are idealogues on both sides, and he's one of the worst on the right-wing side. Not that he isn't counter-balanced on the left.....

Pretty good Wikipedia entry on him:


He has a very mixed record of success and failure in his business endeavors, so I'm not sure you can judge him on the biz merits and come up with much of a reason for or against his ownership of the Cubs......would he excert too much influence where he doesn't have expertise if he owned the Cubs? I could see an argument for that, but so would Mark Cuban :)

What in tarnation is the fascination with Mark Cuban as owner of the Cubs? What makes ANYBODY believe Cuban has ANY interest in owning the Cubs? And what in the Sam Hell has Cuban done right with the Dallas Mavericks to suggest even remotely that he will make a good baseball owner.

There is no way on God's green earth the owners of the 29 other major league ballclubs would EVER approve Cuban owning one of their teams. Never going to happen.

Re: Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch already owned a baseball team. It was called the Los Angeles Dodgers. His chances of wanting back in the fraternity of baseball owners is remote. His chances of being accepted back into the fraternity even if he wanted to be are even more remote. His rumored interest in the Tribune Company is no doubt interest in a handful of the media holdings only. Cherry picking if you will.

Silent Towel — February 7, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

What makes ANYBODY believe Cuban has ANY interest in owning the Cubs?


Silent Towel — February 7, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

And what in the Sam Hell has Cuban done right with the Dallas Mavericks to suggest even remotely that he will make a good baseball owner.


Thats more than we can say about the Trib.

I don't care about Murdoch owning the Cubs...I don't think politics matters much in owning a baseball game.

I do care about Murdoch owning more media outlets however, and while politics is an important aspect of it, the bigger aspect is the way he views the value of news and the way he promotes personalities and punditry and tabloid journalism (for the sake of the bottom line over hard informational news.)

Politically, Tribune company is very conservative, with the Chicago Tribune having one of the most conservative editorial staffs in the country....but to their credit, they still promote hard news, Murdoch, not so much.

What I like about Cuban is he takes his job very personally. He wouldn't buy the team simply to make a profit, he'd buy the team to make a name for himself...and to win. I don't think it would work out well for the Cubs in the long term as the Chicago Media and he would be at odds, and it wouldn't be pleasent for the players...but in the short term, it could give the passion that the team needs.

Murdoch opponents and proponents should read 433’s post #15. Cubnut, I recommend you read it twice...

i recommend the garden claw gold.

it makes a great gift.


I only had to read 433's post once. It was very well stated and I agree with it. I explained my issues with Murdoch back at #7. The Trib article doesn't mention much about his intentions beyond the quote I lifted. Neither that article nor my post suggested he has specific designs on buying the Cubs. Obviously, any change in ownership of Tribune would have some impact on the Cubs, though as vorare points out (#3), that impact would probably amount to the Cubs being sold off to some third party.

All of that said, people have had some interesting takes on the notion of Murdoch as King Cub, 433 among them.

Sorry--the Murdoch part of the story was addressed at chicagobusiness.com, not in the Tribune.

I think Trans may be on to something there with getting Oprah to buy the team. I mean after all she does love helping those who are lost causes right? Just think how much mileage she could get by being kind to the pitiful Cubs fans who've had nothing but heartache all their lives. Can you imagine all the freebies people in the stands would get with Oprah as the owner? Maybe we'd get better 7th inning stretch singers too!

Murdoch will be CNN's Man of the Year before he owns and runs the Cubs. Word.

Who SHOULD buy the Cubs?

Who really, really WANTS to buy the Cubs?

Two words: Jerry Colangelo

Jerry Colangelo doesn't have anywhere near the dough to buy the Cubs. Best he could do is serve as front person to a multi-owner group.

Re: Mark Cuban

Pigs will land on Jupiter sooner than Mark Cuban will own a major league baseball franchise. There is no way the baseball owners will ever let him in their fraternity. Ain't going to happen, so turn the page.

I want to take the opportunity here to point out:

1. The obvious -- liberals don't like Murdock because he's the big-business-type guy who happens to own Fox... and Fox News Channel and we all know Fox News Channel is the "other" news network...


2. The not so obvious -- the misconception about Fox News Channel is that they are conservatives. They are not. They have programming like O'Reilly, etc. because it sells. If, for a minute, it stopped selling, Fox would pull him off the air so fast it would make Rush Limbaugh's head spin. They are a business, not a political impetus, and right now O'Reilly is good business.

Personally I think all the news channels are hookers and nobody currently gives us good reporting without bias. It's nothing new, Thomas Jefferson once said, and I'm paraphrasing because I don't want to look up the actual quote:
"A man who cannot read is better off than a man who only reads newspapers"

On who "should" own the Cubs, how about Joe Gibbs? He's had success in NFL & NASCAR... maybe he could try Baseball next.

Politics aside, Murdoch ran the Dodgers into the ground. Dodger fans were delighted when he sold the team. If he bought the Cubs, everybody would long for the days of the Trib and the Wrigleys.

any news organization that takes memos on direction of the news from a guy who isnt even a journalist or even an editor hired to guide the content has issues with integrity well beyond other news organizations that just hires editors to censor their own writers for them.

...and it goes beyond this liberal vs. conservative brainwash stuff.

the lesser of 2 (or 3 or 4) evils is still evil if you wanna compare major media outlets. evil is strong, but there's not a major liberal news outlet out there. there's just various shades of capitalist-driven and political-leaned soundbite factories.

when we see a story about Boeing building mega transport planes we see stories about how it reflects upon the economy, not the impact of the transport.

when we hear stories about "clean burning fuels" we dont hear about the type of fuels these transport planes and sealiners use.

hell, most of the stories we hear as culled from press releases be it CNN or Fox or your local news.

go cubs.

bill hicks has some great pieces on "the news"...one of his best tying it to the concept of "we never hear about good things happening to people on drugs...only the bad things, but ive had a lot of good times on drugs...shouldnt the news say something about that...i mean, it is...THE news."

which goes back to the "its a business" thing...its the belief of a lot of people that while these entities are businesses that the intial charter of a public service organization (and especially a corporation) is there for the service of the public, not the stockholders.

i dont think too many people would be so casual if the catholic church put up Pepsi banners in every church and the preacher included a slogan from Pepsi every sermon in order to make the church a few hundred thousand extra dollars a month.

"but there’s not a major liberal news outlet out there."

so YOU say...

"They are a business, not a political impetus, and right now O’Reilly is good business"

You're misreading this. They are a business of course, but Newscorp absolutely has a political agenda to advance. Why? Because having conservatives in charge is good for business in that only conservatives will vote for ridiculous things like allowing one company to own all the media in a single market. It all comes back to the business like you said, but electing idiot conservatives to office and misinforming the public to vote for said conservatives is a huge part of the overall business plan.

"so YOU say…"

well, what is it, then?

its not CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, or Fox.

what other major outlet am i missing?

people who believe CNN is liberal are the same that think Clinton was liberal.

less liberal than Person X doesnt mean liberal...it means less liberal.

arsenic is less poisonous than plutonium...both will still kill you. arsenic isnt therefore safe if something is less safe.

when corporate-interest and capitalist driven NPR is the most liberal outlet for most americans, that's just very very sad. a lotta liberals wont give that station the time of day.

"well, what is it, then?"

I really am not going to go into it, but I was just making it clear that that statement was your opinion, NOT FACT. There are many people who think some media outlets are left leaning, and in some cases, very left leaning.

Again, I am not going to get into the political talk as it doesn't really have a place here, even though some posters seem to continue to blast away.

actually, it is a fact unless you wanna play loose with what a liberal or liberal issue is.

much like a lotta people believe ex presidents were out chopping cherry trees and not telling lies, history and propaganda have labeled non-liberal things as liberal and vice-versa.

Please let's keep the liberal/conservative crap outta here. I don't care what side you're on. Rupert Murdoch is seriously The Antichrist. Mike Royko clocked him right a long time ago. Murdoch's Dodgers SUCKED. Go back to Myspace if you are offended.

Re: Ryno #32
Yes, Murdoch is a business man, and yes O-reilly brings in the dough. But that is entirely the problem, news has now become a bottom line driven business where personality and popularity is more important then deliviring news. News used to be a profit writeoff for networks, there was no money in it...the news a public service to establish credibility for the network

As for FoxNews not being conservative...behind the scenes FoxNews doesn't pretend that they aren't conservative. They know their auidence and they cater to them. The news network was started by 3 top associates of the Republican party.

Bottom line, it's ok if someone watches Fox News...as long as they are reading the NY times, their local paper and so forth. Diversify your sources....liberal or conservative, if you are not paying attention to the other side, you are doomed to being naive about many things.

oh...Go Cubs.

"But that is entirely the problem, news has now become a bottom line driven business where personality and popularity is more important then deliviring news."

all 3 major news outlets went EXCLUSIVE-CONTENT with anna nicole death story yesterday for a minimum of 3 hours (up until i left at 7:10pm EST yesterday and when i returned home at 9pm EVERY major news outlet was still covering it at the same time.

this is a dead junkie stripper with a failed basic cable TV show that was cancelled 2 years ago.

this story got the same coverage as a 9/11 type event and *LESS* coverage than the recent Boston bomb scare.

ratings driven news is not helping our society become informed...it is helping the entertainment value of people who are sick of "real news" that's depressing or demoralizing or whatever bad real news is doing this year.

this story got the same coverage as a 9/11 type event and *LESS* coverage than the recent Boston bomb scare.

Really? the same coverage as a 9/11 type event?

yeah...all 3 major news outlets went exclusive for a dead junkie stripper.

they interviewed everyone they could get a hold of.

around 5-ish Fox was interviewing CLINT EASTWOOD

oops...submitted accidently...damn enter key.

yeah…all 3 major news outlets went exclusive for a dead junkie stripper.

they interviewed everyone they could get a hold of.

around 5-ish Fox was interviewing CLINT EASTWOOD at a golf even asking about anna nicole...CNN was interviewing numerous people in the hospital waiting room where she was brought in (already dead) who had nothing to add to the content of the story...MSNBC was interviewing via phone an entertainment reporter from the Star (not the british one) tabloid supermarket journal.

for hours our 3 major US cable news outlets were running all over the place tearing through phones and contacts looking for any and all content they could add to this story to pad it out.

the competition to make something out of very little dragged on in the afternoon and through the evening of wall-to-wall fodder to fill time.

this kind of scramble is, or should, rarely seen except for the bigger stories.

things changed for a lot of media and coverage when CNN became a powerhouse covering some little girl who fell down a well in the 80s. remember that, anyone?

covering events like anna in a manner like this only serves to tap market share, not to bring us news.

luogo interessante, soddisfare interessante, buon!

Luogo molto buon:) Buona fortuna!

The ultra libber, anti-USA LA Times is as worthless as traitor Kerry at a VFW convention.

Way too libby - no wonder they are failing!

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