Monday, February 14, 2011

Do not underestimate the ruthlessness of the Koch brothers

The billionaire union-busting Koch brothers will go to great lengths to track down and punish their enemies. The New York Times yesterday had a story about how they're throwing money and lawyers at some pranksters who played a joke on them. reports the Times,
...In December, a fake news release was sent out by a group claiming to be Koch Industries, the oil processing company owned by Charles and David Koch...Under the headline “Koch Industries Announces New Environmental Commitments,” the fake release said that after “a recent internal and thorough company review,” the company would be “restructuring its support of climate change research and advocacy initiatives.”

Months later, the company, based in Wichita, Kan., is still pursuing the identities of the members of the group that claimed responsibility for the prank, Youth for Climate Truth. In a lawsuit, it is demanding damages including “costs associated with spending time and money to respond to inquiries about the fake release,” as well as “investigative and legal expenses” in pursuing the tricksters...
It's not too much of a stretch to assume that the Kochs had something to do with an apparent smear campaign against New Yorker writer Jane Meyer, who wrote a long article exposing the Kochs in August. Reports Gawker,
Since then, she's apparently become the victim of a disturbing, organized smear campaign...The Washington Examiner (which editorialized extensively against Mayer's Koch brothers piece) did research trying to turn up evidence of Mayer's political partisanship; they apparently didn't find anything worth reporting.
And ...The Daily Caller spent "several weeks" investigating a story that Mayer plagiarized work in her Koch brothers article, and in another story years ago. They found no evidence, and now they've dropped the story...Scrutiny of reporters' work is fine, but hiring P.I.'s for political-style opposition research and trying to plant false stories is a mark of unscrupulous desperation. After three whiffs, will any more media outlets take the bait against Mayer? We'll be watching!
You'll recall that Politico also reported the Kochs conducted an investigation -- not quite a witch hunt -- to find out who leaked a list of the people who attended their most recent secret confab to plot the destruction of the middle class.
The packet...included the dates and location of the recently concluded conference, allowing critics to plan demonstrations...“I don’t want to call it a witch hunt, but it was a pretty intense inside intelligence-type operation that lasted a week,” the source said of the Kochs’ search for the leaker, explaining that Koch officials used clues in the invitation ThinkProgress obtained to “narrow it down to a few (invitees) and went and asked them.” The source said the Kochs ultimately found the source of the leak.
Nice, huh?