SALT LAKE CITY — Jon Huntsman Sr. weighed in on the dispute between the Salt Lake Tribune and its ownership in a question and answer session with reporters following the groundbreaking of the Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center.
Question: Are you interested in helping out a local paper at all? We heard rumors that you may be buying the Salt Lake Tribune.
Answer: "I’ll just comment briefly on that. I’ve had an interest in newspapers. We have a number of businesses around the world. I tried to buy the Deseret News in the 1980s and 1990s. I met with (LDS Church) President (Gordon B.) Hinckley twice. I don’t know why I’ve had this fascination with newspapers just because I guess you know we’ve, we’re broadly based in 75 countries and I’ve always had great respect for the fact that this valley should never be divided.
"That is to say that we should always have at least two newspapers. We should never have any political or religious organization filter our news. And the Salt Lake Tribune, or an alternative to a church-owned or political-owned or any other special interest-owned newspaper, is not in the best interest for the people of the state of Utah. That’s my own personal feelings, even though I’m a strong member of the LDS Church.
"I would work diligently to see that the valley is never divided and the state’s never divided and that the people have a voice, an equal voice from all faiths, and all background and all religions. And so in that context, I’ve expressed an interest in the Tribune.
"Right now the Department of Justice has put a clamp on anybody negotiating for it. They have several lawyers in examining the joint operating agreement between the Deseret News and the Tribune, and so they’ve nullified any negotiations for the next six weeks or so."
— Emilee Eagar