Friday, February 4, 2011

Leave the Koch brothers aloooone!

We're already seeing results from the PR firm that the union-busting billionaire Koch brothers hired to counter the negative press they'd been getting.

You will recall that news had leaked out about the Kochs' annual secret billionaires' meeting to plot the next battle in the corporate war on the middle class. Last weekend, 1,500 demonstrators showed up outside the posh resort where the Kochs held their latest meeting. The brothers, whose anti-worker activities have long flown under the radar screen, were disturbed by the attention. So they hired a Washington PR firm to fix their image.

Now we're seeing Koch brother talking points in the news media. They're straight out of the playbook that says, "Accuse your opponents of your own biggest fault." We've seen it thousands of times. So the Kochs are claiming the protesters were denying them the right to free speech.

An LA Times opinion piece, no doubt planted by the Kochs' new flacks, says,
...we’re not sure that the marchers were quite clear on the concepts of democracy and free speech...
(Actually, we're quite sure the marchers are clear on it. That's why they were exercising their own right of free speech by marching against the Kochs.)
It's the Kochs who try to deny free speech. They're the ones who hired goons to track and threaten reporters. Writes Politico:
Inside the resort at the beginning of the conference, "there was an atmosphere almost of paranoia," said Gary Ferdman, a Common Cause official.
Ferdman had reservations at the resort and stayed there Thursday and Friday night. He said he was told Saturday that his lunch reservations at the resort restaurant had been canceled and was urged to check out and leave promptly by a member of Koch's large security detail.
Security manned every doorway and stairwell near the ballrooms where Koch events were held, and threatened to jail this POLITICO reporter while he waited in line at the resort's cafe, after he stopped by a Koch conference registration table.
The resort grounds were "closed for a private function," the resort's head of security, James Foster told POLITICO, ushering the reporter outside, where private security guards, wearing gold lapel pins bearing Koch's "K" logo, threatened "a citizen's arrest" and a "night in the Riverside County jail" if the reporter continued asking questions and taking photographs.
And here's a news flash for the LA Times: $43 billion (the brothers' estimated net worth) buys you a lot more speech than protesters standing on the pavement with signs.

The Kochs have long paid for their news coverage. They do it by funding "philanthropies" like the Goldwater Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. These groups give fellowships and awards to "journalists" like Michael Barone, Tim Carney, George Will and Stephen Moore. They offer "Koch Associate Program," which pays rising young right-wing twerps close to $100,000 a year to write for pro-corporate publications like Reason Magazine, which the Kochs also fund.
They even got the loathsome Michelle Malkin started.

That's why this Koch-underwritten comment from US News & World Report (isn't that publication dead yet?) is such a howler.
The media’s exposure of the Kochs role in the political life of the nation is not objective--it’s highly slanted--and not in the name of fairness or honesty so much as in the name of intimidation.
Um, who's intimidating who here?

It just makes your head spin.