Mormon Church Being Investigated By U.S. Government For Trying To Destroy Salt Lake Tribune Newspaper

By   |  April 29, 2014

PHOTO: The Triad Center, pictured above, is a business complex located in Salt Lake City, Utah, owned by Deseret Management Corporation, a for-profit division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The complex is currently home to the Deseret News newspaper headquarters, among other Mormon-affiliated (LDS) companies.

The Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!

In its most recent media-related conspiracy, the Mormon (LDS) Church is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice over allegations they are paying off the hedge-fund-owned Salt Lake Tribune newspaper to slowly ‘kill’ itself, in a shady deal to cede the Utah market to the LDS-managed publication Deseret News.

Opportunism Of Hedge-Fund-Owned Media

According to a detailed report by the Columbia Journalism Review last week:

The deal, an amendment struck last fall to a longstanding Joint Operating Agreement, would give the News 70 percent of the print revenues generated by the two papers, in return for the payment, the amount of which is undisclosed. The onetime payment, critics claim, would benefit the New York parent, Digital First Media, owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, while choking off revenue needed to sustain the Tribune‘s newsroom.

The Tribune, run by New York-based Digital First Media, has been owned by hedge-fund Alden Global Capital since being acquired in 2010 after emerging from bankruptcy.

“The hedge fund guys get what they want, which is a big pile of cash,” says Jim Dabakis, a Utah state senator who this week started an online petition asking the Justice Department to reverse the deal. “And the Deseret News gets what it wants, its generations-long dream [fulfilled] to extinguish the other voice in the community. And they get a monopoly from now on.”

Joan O’Brien, an ex-Tribune reporter who now teaches has taught media law and runs a local group opposed to the amended JOA, wrote a detailed letter to the Justice Department saying the pact will cripple the Tribune, “drastically intensifying the media monopoly power of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Northern Utah.”

Jim Dabakis, an openly-gay state senator from Salt Lake City – and an ex-Mormon who left the church several years ago – is responsible for creating the online petition last week opposing the deal, which may have increased scrutiny of the situation by the Justice Department. Because the agreement is already in effect, the only way it could be revised would be with direct federal anti-trust involvement.

The Tribune itself reported on the Justice investigation earlier this month, recalling an interesting court filing discovered by O’Brien:

She said the DOJ attorney sought background on documents referring to what one News official in a court filing called “an ingenious plan” more than 15 years ago to alter the Tribune-News operating partnership to make it easier for the News to acquire The Tribune without drawing opposition from federal regulators. According to an Oct. 15, 2001, court deposition by L. Glen Snarr, then-chairman of Deseret News Publishing Co., the plan involved the News buying additional shares of the newspapers’ revenue split and greater management control of joint operations. The strategy was developed, Snarr testified at the time, because the Federal Communications Commission appeared likely to challenge the News’ purchase of The Tribune, given the LDS Church’s existing ownership of other Utah broadcast and print outlets.

Of course, if the Tribune files for bankruptcy again, or is simply shut down by its current hedge-fund owner, it would serve the goals of the LDS Church quite nicely while conveniently avoiding any anti-trust litigation.

Repeated Instances Of Mormon Censorship

In response to the growing discussion last week, the Deseret News posted a letter to its readers attempting to clarify its joint operating agreement in an apparent effort to assuage concerns among Utahans regarding a Mormon-dominated market, while taking a swipe at Tribune instability, declaring: “It is the responsibility of news organizations to innovate and adapt to the evolving media landscape.”

The situation is of special interest to CollegeTimes, due to our previous accusations that the Salt Lake Tribune regularly offers abnormally favorable coverage of for-profit Neumont University, an unaccredited technical institute with shady investor connections to the Mormon (LDS) Church in Utah. Neumont, who tried unsuccessfully to sue CollegeTimes in 2012 for hosting negative student reviews of the controversial school, moved into the former Tribune office building in Salt Lake City in late 2013, which seems to have contributed even further to the rather secretive relationship between the college and the increasingly unstable news publication.

The history of the Salt Lake Tribune is notoriously absurd. Founded in 1870 as the Mormon Tribune, the newspaper has since gone through dozens of ownership changes and content strategies. In 1873, it was bought by 3 Kansas businessmen who turned the Tribune into an anti-Mormon rag. In 1901 it was secretly purchased by U.S. Senator Thomas Kearns, who was trying to win favor from Utah Mormons who had elected him to office. The Tribune has held a Joint Operating Agreement with the Deseret News since the 1950’s, despite endlessly changing editorial positions regarding the LDS Church.

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13 Comments on “Mormon Church Being Investigated By U.S. Government For Trying To Destroy Salt Lake Tribune Newspaper”  (RSS)

  1. Churches have become so corrupt under the cloak of “church & state”. Jesus even recognized this when he stated “you have made the house of God a den of theives”. If they claim to be so “honest and pure,then there should be so problem with having open books instead of the secrery they hide behind.

  2. I would think this is the tip of the iceberg with this cult. It’s a shame that they can’t be audited. As one surrounded by the members of thisgroup, I am tired of their arrogant attitudes believing that they are God on earth. Their religion/cult is based on greed and complete arrogance.

  3. As a retired USAF, non-LDS,and non-native Utah resident, the continued control of the LDS INC. church over this state is abhorrent in the United States of America.

    The collusion that has taken place between Deseret (mormon) News and the ‘hedge fund’, which I suspect if investigated will reveal LDS church ownership, should be struck down, with significant fines levied against both the Devil’s News & the hedge fund owners.

  4. I’m active LDS. Why do members continue to think ALL the $ the Church has comes from tithing? Seriously, tithing is a small portion. They have major investments and holdings. I don’t believe investments and holdings are a negative thing, I’m just pointing out that people being furious that “tithing $” used for the purpose in the article above is wrong. It’s not completely accurate. Aside from that- I have not formed an opinion about the actual article yet.

  5. Killing the messenger will not work here. Truth in media will always win in the end. The Deseret news is a biased closed minded paper that only reports a LDS sanitized version of the news or more closely propaganda. I never enjoyed reading it, and this is the reason why.

    Now I will subscribe to the SL Tribune just to further support the unbiased news they report. Keep up the fight against the LDS Vatican media propaganda (years of it to be exact). The Deseret news is now a slap in the face to it’s past Church History of men who fought for freedom and truth in everything.

    May God keep the Tribune clear of such an attack from such evil dark works.

  6. Ian,
    ALL of the church’s funds originated from tithing money and other donations from their members. So, your argument is not true. Also, the LDS Church has not publicly disclosed its financial statements in the United States since 1959. Members have asked for more transparency because they are required to give 10% of their income in order to be members in good standing, yet the church refuses to release information as to where these tithing dollars are being spent. Most of the apostles have millions of dollars worth of assets, properties and so on. They also hire friends and family members to work in the church owned businesses. The whole financial part of the church smells very fishy.

  7. Actually, LDS_faith. It’s not tithing money, all of the church’s holdings are self sustaining, meaning they don’t use tithing money for this sort of thing. But, I do agree, it’s not cool, not cool at all.

    Scott, sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder. Just let it go, let it go.

  8. Here is another brick on yourbself:

    Factoid:  unfortunately for the students of BYU, if your religion changes from mormonism, and you choose to resign from the church, then you will be expelled from BYU, lose their credits, and can never enroll again, even if you are an honorable student. It is a little known and strictly followed policy.  Its legal I guess, but against my morals

    so I understand that Brigham Young lived like a king in his palacial home in Salt Lake City. And, that he had dozens of estranged wives and dozens of stranged children, many of whom died unneccessarily premature due to the complications if nutritional deficiencies and lack of medical care. Not to mention the rest of the sent who shared far flung settlements. Brighams wives lived as starving single mothers in the wilderness. As the fat ass Brigham Young engaged in gluttony in his mansion, his cult followers were dieing around him. I dont know anyone at all who is that immoral. You call that a prophet?

    There is hope, happiness, and personal honesty without god, but it takes courage.

    As atheists, we can and do create our own meaning. Just because we do not anthropomorphize the unknown creative forces of the universe, does not mean that we are doomed to a meaningless life, retrogression, nor impaired progression, despite what others may say.

    We atheists, are demeaned and bemoaned for simply not anthropomorphizing these unknown forces, perhaps because we eliminate its use by others to gain control over us, for which they deem us as a threat. We do not wish for others, such as religious leaders, to choose our meaning for us. The meanings we choose can include any combination of: family, friends, service, careers, art, science, discovery, advocacy, educating, etc. We value the freedom to choose our own purpose in life, instead of relying on religious figures to do it for us. To allow others to choose our meaning creates imbalance which causes unneccesary suffering and harms every society.

  9. The Tribune is a lone voice in a community that is monopolized and completely controlled by the Mormon Church. It needs to be saved.

  10. Whatever. I prefer to get my news from Kolob.

  11. wait, didn’t they do the same with the nauvoo expositor? well at least this they are not using fire…

  12. Dang Expositor!

  13. “You can buy anything in this world with money.”

    I am an active mormon and this sort of thing stinks of Orwellian levels.

    Why oh why does the church continue to be a shady corporation. Does it really want to have no members?


    The theocratic state of Utah really makes us European mormons go – hang on a minute. That looks NOTHING like Zion (more like my personal hell!).

    As an active member, it really is a WTF moment.

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