February 6, 2018; Los Angeles Times
NPQ has written more than once about Patrick Soon-Shiong, reputedly the “richest doctor in the world.” A so-called “philanthropist” with self-dealing tendencies, Soon-Shiong reportedly met several times with President Trump and was campaigning for the position of national “health czar.” It would have been a cultural fit at least, since biomedical magnate Soon-Shiong’s philanthropic activities were revealed to be closely tied to and supportive of his business activities—much like Trump’s were—but in the field of medical research.
Soon-Shiong has also faced allegations that he has used his philanthropic outfits to feed his own businesses. An investigation last year by Politico found “found that the majority of [Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth Foundation’s expenditures] flow to businesses and not-for-profits controlled by Soon-Shiong himself, and the majority of its grants have gone to entities that have business deals with his for-profit firms.” Soon-Shiong has vehemently denied the accusations and called them…“malicious.”
In any case, reports this morning suggest that Soon-Shiong, already a major shareholder in the paper, is nearing a deal with current owner Tronc to buy both the troubled Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune. As Fortune suggests, “It’s unclear whether Soon-Shiong will use his new position as L.A. Times owner to influence coverage, including of his many medical projects and connections with various Los Angeles businesses.”
The quality, ethics and credibility of coverage by a major local media source, of course, matter deeply to civil society.—Ruth McCambridge