No one has done more to expose the left’s absurd attacks on Koch Industries and the Koch brothers than our own John Hinderaker. To John’s work we must now add Matthew Continetti’s Weekly Standard cover story “The paranoid style in liberal politics.”
Continetti observes the process that has provided so much grist for John’s mill:
By the time the Tea Party was getting started in 2009, the left-wing counter-counter-establishment was a juggernaut, investing vast energy in destroying the reputations of its favorite targets: Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh. Inside this Death Star were legions of twenty-something writers, most of them fresh out of college, tapping furiously at their keyboards, discoursing on the subtleties of macroeconomics and the depravity of American conservatives. An hour or so spent on Google was research enough to write a blog post that would be read by producers for Keith Olbermann and editors at the New York Times. Seemingly random accumulations of fact would be presented breathlessly in purple prose: Look at what the bastards are doing now! In a matter of hours attacks that originated in the bowels of the Center for American Progress Action Fund would traverse heaven’s ladder and reach White House speechwriters.
What happened to the Kochs was a classic example. . . .
Continetti traces the etiology of the disease of Koch addiction. Here he gives Jane Mayer and the New Yorker their due:
Koch addiction became a left-wing pandemic. In August 2010 the New Yorker published Jane Mayer’s “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.” Mayer drew heavily from the writings of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Greenpeace report, and public tax records. For several thousand words, relying on interviews with anonymous sources, Democratic operatives, a disgruntled conservative, a historian of libertarianism, and the author of “A Pagan’s Blog,” Mayer unspooled a fantastic tale of manipulation and malpractice.
She reported ominously that “many of the organizations funded by the Kochs employ specialists who write position papers that are subsequently quoted by politicians and pundits.” She unironically quoted former Democratic congressman Dan Glickman, who told her that before the voters in Wichita threw him out in 1994, “I’d been in Congress 18 years. The Kochs actually engaged against me and funded my opponent.” The impertinence! The outrage! “With the growing prominence of the Tea Party,” Mayer wrote, “and with increased awareness of the Kochs’ ties to the movement, the brothers may find it harder to deflect scrutiny.”
How right she was. “Covert Operations” became a sort of Rosetta Stone for Koch addicts. It was the template for any liberal wanting someone to blame for all the trouble in the world. Mayer had unlocked the secrets of the Kochtopus. . . .
Continetti patiently exposes Mayer’s lines of attack on the Kochs and Koch Industries as fraudulent. Here he allows himself an entertaining digression:
It was more than passing strange for Mayer to use the “self-interest” canard. In “Covert Operations” Mayer trotted out a spokesman for George Soros, the liberal billionaire and political activist, who “argued that Soros’s giving is transparent, and that ‘none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests.’” Six years earlier, however, in a profile of Soros for the New Yorker, Mayer had written differently. The hedge fund king told her how he’d once established a think tank in England “which had at first looked like a fruitless venture”–right up to the minute his connections opened a door into the British bond market. “I made many millions,” Soros told Mayer. (The pound sterling wasn’t as lucky.)
The title of Continett’s article alludes to the late Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter’s 1964 essay “The paranoid style in American politics.” At the time it was published Hofstadter’s essay seemed to apply mostly to the denizens of the fever swamps on the right who thought that municipal water fluoridation was a Communist conspiracy.
To whom does it apply today? Paul Mirengoff supplied one answer to that question in the Standard column “Paranoid, nous?” Dr. Sanity supplied another in “Paranoia strikes deep.” Continetti’s article supplies yet another.
Continetti’s long article is not one word longer than necessary to do justice to the subject. Please check it out.