Longtime LA Times reporter and columnist Bill Boyarsky was one of my favorite things about the paper when I first arrived there in the early 90s. He has thoughts on Sam Zell’s Tribune, and LA Times, purchase within the context of LA’s anti-semitism.
Happily for them, most of the old-time Los Angeles anti-Semites who used to hang out at the downtown California Club are either dead or too old to care that a Jew is on the verge of owning the L.A. Times. Not just any Jew. Sam Zell looks as though he’s one tough Jew, probably even tougher than the old California Clubbers who stole the water from the Owens Valley and got rich in sneaky San Fernando Valley land deals….we’ll probably have a Jew in charge of the Times, which was once one of old Los Angeles’ most famous WASP institutions. What a great day for old L.A. Jews with long memories of country clubs and downtown clubs that banned them; restrictive covenants that kept them out of certain fancy neighborhoods; anti-Semitic fraternities and sororities at USC and UCLA and law firms that never seemed able to find a place for a smart Jewish attorney. They also may have memories of the old Times, which, while not anti-Semitic, was a perfect reflection of the conservative Republican WASP culture of Los Angeles’ upper classes….Zell is a tough Jew. More importantly, he’s an enigma, and we have no idea of what he has in mind for the Times.
In the Chicago Reader, Michael Miner takes a similar look at the Tribune:
THE TRIBUNE HAS changed so much since Colonel Robert McCormick died in 1955 that if the press baron were given to spinning in his grave he’d be a dervish already. But Joseph Aaron, editor of the Chicago Jewish News, is sure the Colonel will be set off by the flying feet of Sam Zell, the real estate mogul and self-described “grave dancer” who’s buying the Tribune Company. “Colonel McCormick was pretty anti-Semitic,” says Aaron. “I enjoy the irony of his paper being in the hands of wealthy Jews.”