Anatomy of a Smear, Part II

I wrote here about the sinister symbiosis between contemptible left-wing web sites and the supposedly respectable liberal press. The specific subject of the post, titled Anatomy of a Smear, was the left’s attacks on Congressman Mike Pompeo, a former soldier who ranked first in his class at West Point and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and who, after a successful career as an entrepreneur, now represents Kansas’s 4th Congressional District. The 4th District includes Wichita, the home of Koch Industries, and more than 2,000 Koch employees are constituents of Congressman Pompeo. The whole post bears re-reading; this was the concluding paragraph:

The disgusting morass of left-wing blogs, funded by far-left billionaires like George Soros, spew up an endless stream of slimy attacks on mainstream citizens, like Charles and David Koch, and mainstream politicians, like Mike Pompeo. Democratic Party outlets that are generally presumed to be more respectable, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, watch the dirt flow by and periodically, when they see something promising, pluck it out of the swamp and take it mainstream in order to benefit their party. The Post isn’t as bad as some–I have referred to it as the most respectable voice of the Democratic Party–but when it follows this disgusting practice, plucking out the vilest unsubstantiated smear and promoting it for purely partisan purposes, it is hard to distinguish the Post from the most disreputable far-left rags, like Think Progress and the New York Times.

My reference to the Times was prescient. It took that paper a little longer, but its editorialists have now taken up the banner that was first raised by the wacky Soros-funded site Think Progress. Yesterday, the Times attacked Congressman Pompeo:

[F]reshman Mike Pompeo of Kansas [is] dubbed the Congressman from Koch for championing the conservative agenda of the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David.

Pompeo was “dubbed the Congressman from Koch” by Think Progress and other far left web sites. He does indeed “champion [a] conservative agenda,” but it is the conservative agenda of his Kansas constituents. In 2010, he clobbered a Democratic nominee who raised a lot of money from left-wing sources. The Democrat was a former employee of the American Civil Liberties Union and was also a “senior policy analyst” for none other than the Center for American Progress, which owns Think Progress, the web site that spawned the smear that the New York Times now repeats. How is that for liberal incest? It should be noted, too, that Pompeo’s victory was not exactly an upset.

They contributed handsomely — $80,000 worth — to Mr. Pompeo’s campaign kitty.

Here, the Times outright lies, going beyond the smear that was originally perpetrated by Think Progress. Charles and David Koch did not contribute $80,000 to Pompeo’s campaign; I am not sure whether they contributed at all. The $80,000 came from Koch Industries’ PAC, KochPAC, and from all 2,000+ Koch employees who live in Pompeo’s district. Koch Industries and its employees, like a large majority of American companies and a large majority of Americans, benefit from pro-free enterprise policies. Is it any surprise that they would support a candidate who advocates for free enterprise? Does the Times somehow see that as illegitimate? Well, yes, actually it does. The Times thinks political participation is OK only when it supports the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Mr. Pompeo said he ran for Congress because as a businessman (whose business included some Koch investment money) he saw “how government can crush entrepreneurism.”

This is straight from Think Progress. In fact, Pompeo started a business in which Koch Venture Capital–an obvious place to go for investment money if you live in Wichita–contributed less than two percent of the company’s capital. The Times editorialists have absolutely no idea what role Koch Venture Capital played in getting Pompeo’s aerospace company off the ground; they are just channeling their cronies at Think Progress. The Times continues:

His contributions to the House Republicans’ budget-slashing legislation included two top priorities of Koch Industries: killing off funds for the Obama administration’s new database for consumer complaints about unsafe products and for a registry of greenhouse gas polluters at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Once again, the Times has no idea what it is talking about. Here, it is merely quoting the Washington Post article that I savaged in Anatomy of a Smear. Here is what I wrote there:

It is interesting that Eggen links to no source for his claim that “[b]oth have been listed as top legislative priorities for Koch Industries.” If they were listed, he must have a source. What is it? Koch’s corporate spokeswoman said, “please be advised that ‘eliminating funding for a database of consumer complaints about unsafe products and for an Environmental Protection Agency registry of greenhouse-gas polluters’ was not a top legislative priority of Koch Industries.” If Eggen has some evidence to the contrary, what is it?

Eggen couldn’t answer the question; neither, needless to say, can the Times. The New York Times editorialists represent the lowest form of journalism: not only are their editorials unsubstantiated smears, they border on being plagiarized unsubstantiated smears. That is about as low as you can go.
Of course, there is a broader point here: the alleged evil of money in politics.

Mr. Pompeo represents an early warning of the shape of things to come when the Supreme Court’s misguided decision to legalize unfettered corporate campaign donations fully kicks in next year.

Interestingly, after devoting its editorial exclusively to smearing Mike Pompeo and one other Republican Congressman, the Times turns bipartisan for a single sentence:

The Koch brothers are planning to spend tens of millions in the 2012 campaign, as are Democratic power brokers and unions.

Let’s pause for a moment on those “Democratic power brokers and unions.” The truth is that if the Times is unhappy with big money in politics, it is barking up the wrong tree. The Republicans are the grassroots party; it is the Times’s own Democratic Party that is the beneficiary of the vast majority of fat cat donations. This is from my post Who Are the Demons Here?
You have to get down to number 19 before you find a big-time donor that gives significantly more to Republicans than Democrats. And the Koch brothers are not even on the radar screen.
The New York Times represents a new low in American journalism, especially in its editorials. The paper isn’t even original–it gets its content from slimy, billionaire-funded, radical web sites. It doesn’t fact check, it just repeats smears–and in some cases, it baselessly amplifies them. Its parroting of those smears is so slavish that it is close to plagiarism. If there is a news outlet less worthy of respect, I can’t think what it would be.
UPDATE: Following up on this post, I have requested that the Times issue a correction.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.