The Washington Post Has Gone Silent on Its Koch/Keystone Smear: Time For Readers to Weigh In

So far, I have gotten no response to the email that I sent to the Washington Post on March 26, asking for information and documents that would shed light on whether the paper coordinated its baseless story on Koch Industries and the Keystone Pipeline with Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse and Henry Waxman, so as to promote a Democratic Party talking point. So today, I sent this follow-up email:

To: readers@washpost.com, martin.baron@washpost.com, kevin.merida@washpost.com, juliet.eilperin@washpost.com, steven.mufson@washpost.com, emilio.garcia-ruiz@washpost.com

Re: Your Keystone/Koch Smear

On March 20, reporters Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson wrote an article in the Post attempting to link Koch Industries to the Keystone Pipeline on the basis of an old, discredited report by a far-left group called the International Forum on Globalization. A few days thereafter, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Henry Waxman sent a letter to the President of Koch Industries, asking a long series of questions about the Keystone Pipeline–with which, as is widely known, Koch has no connection–and requesting voluminous documents on the same subject. Whitehouse and Waxman justified their letter with a series of footnotes to the March 20 Washington Post article and the IFG report on which it was based.

That caused me to wonder whether the Post’s article was a put-up job; that is, whether it had been coordinated in advance among Eilperin, Mufson, Whitehouse and Waxman to advance a Democratic Party talking point. I decided to pursue an investigation of that point, and sent the following email on March 26:

To: juliet.eilperin@washpost.com
steven.mufson@washpost.com
readers@washpost.com
emilio.garcia-ruiz@washpost.com
veronica.dillon@washpost.com
From: John Hinderaker

Date: March 26, 2014

On March 20, you wrote an article in the Washington Post that attempted to link Koch Industries to the Keystone Pipeline. Your article suggested that Koch is, or may be, the driving force behind the pipeline. I criticized your article at http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/03/washington-post-falls-for-left-wing-fraud-embarrasses-itself.php, and you attempted, briefly, to respond to my critique. I wrote a subsequent post at http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/03/the-washington-post-responds-to-me-and-i-reply-to-the-post.php, to which you have made no rejoinder.

In response to my initial post, you said that you wrote the article linking Koch to Keystone for political reasons: “[I]ssues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year.” The significance of that admission became evident today when Democrats Henry Waxman and Sheldon Whitehouse wrote a letter to Koch Industries, questioning whether Koch has some interest in the Keystone Pipeline in reliance on your March 20 article and the IFG “report” that you cited. Many thousands of readers of my posts will wonder whether the Post’s story was a put-up job: a collaborative effort between you and Congressional Democrats, intended to serve as a pretext for politically-motivated harassment of Koch Industries, one of America’s premier companies.

Relying on your thoroughly-debunked March 20 article, Waxman and Whitehouse posed a long series of questions to Koch and requested various documents. I have the same right to request information that they do, and therefore I ask that the Washington Post answer the following questions and produce the following documents:

1) Prior to publication of the referenced article on or about March 20, 2014, did either Juliet Eilperin or Steven Mufson have any conversation or exchange any written documents relating to the subject matter of the article with Sheldon Whitehouse, Henry Waxman, any other Democratic member of the House or Senate, or any member of the staff of any Democratic Senator or Representative, or the staff of any House or Senate committee? If so, please state the time and place of all such conversations, identify all participants, describe the conversations in detail, and identify all responsive documents.

2) Prior to the publication of the referenced article on or about March 20, 2014, did either Juliet Eilperin or Steven Mufson have any conversation or exchange any written documents relating to the subject matter of the article with Tom Steyer, Andrew Light, John Podesta, or any employee or representative of the Center for American Progress? If so, please state the time and place of all such conversations, identify all participants, describe the conversations in detail, and identify all responsive documents.

3) Identify by name, address, phone number and business affiliation or employment every person with whom either Juliet Eilperin or Steven Mufson spoke or exchanged emails or other correspondence in connection with the referenced article that was published on or about March 20, 2014.

4) Produce all emails, letters, notes, memos or other documents in any form, whether paper or electronic, that contain or refer to any communications between Juliet Eilperin or Steven Mufson and Sheldon Whitehouse, Henry Waxman, any other Democratic member of the House or Senate, any member of the staff of any House or Senate Democrat, or any staffer for any Congressional committee, that relate in any way to the subject matter of the referenced article that was published on or about March 20, whether such documents predate or postdate publication of the referenced article.

5) Produce all emails, letters, notes, memos or other documents in any form, whether paper or electronic, that contain or refer to any communications between Juliet Eilperin or Steven Mufson and John Podesta, Tom Steyer, Andrew Light or any employee or representative of the Center for American Progress that relate in any way to the subject matter of the referenced article that was published on or about March 20, whether such documents predate or postdate publication of the referenced article.

I recognize that there is not currently pending any litigation in which court process would require the Washington Post to produce the requested information and documents. However, I trust that the Post will want to respond to the concerns that are felt by many thousands of readers as to whether the newspaper has allowed itself to be used as a foil and a pretext for the advancement of Democratic Party talking points that “will stir and inflame public debate in this election year.”

I look forward to your prompt responses to my requests. You can email responsive documents to me at this email address.

John Hinderaker

So far, I have not received any response to my email of March 26. I would appreciate the courtesy of a response, and in particular, I would like to receive answers to my questions and documents responsive to my requests. I look forward to hearing from you without further delay.

John Hinderaker

I think they are trying to ignore me. This is where our readers can come in. My requests become harder to ignore if they are supported by several hundred emailers. So I would ask our readers (and your friends and relatives, pass the word on) to send politely-worded emails to the email addresses listed above (Martin Baron, Kevin Merida, Juliet Eilperin, Steven Mufson and Emilio Garcia-Ruiz. Please ask these individuals to refer to my emails of March 26 and April 3, and to provide the information and documents therein requested. Please explain that you too would like to know whether the Eilperin/Mufson article on March 20, which the reporters later wrote that they published to “stir and inflame public debate in this election year,” was improperly coordinated with representatives of the Democratic Party to reinforce a Democratic Party talking point. Please add any politely-phrased thoughts you may consider appropriate.

Responses