The New York Times Forgets Its Own Smear Campaign

Yesterday’s New York Times headlined: “New Democratic Strategy Goes After Koch Brothers.” Anyone who follows the political scene can only respond to that headline with hollow laughter. The Democrats’ “new strategy”? Most of the emails that I have received from the Democrats in recent years have used the Koch brothers as a fundraising foil. But the Times tells us that the anti-Koch campaign has just now been inaugurated by Harry Reid, on the floor of the Senate:

Democrats are embarking on a broad effort that aims to unmask the press-shy siblings and portray them, instead, as a pair of villains bent on wrecking progressive politics. …

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, foreshadowed the campaign by taking to the Senate floor on Tuesday….

What is funny about this is not only that the Democrats’ hysterical anti-Koch campaign is nothing new, but that the New York Times itself has been a prime participant in the effort to smear the brothers. This has been true recently, as in January, when the paper’s editorial board fulminated, in its usual over-the-top style, against “the Koch Party.” But the editorial board has been ranting against the Kochs for years. In fact, the paper had to issue a retraction of a lie the editorial board told about the brothers in early 2011. (I like to think that my exposure of the lie precipitated the retraction.)

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that the Times reporter apparently forgot about the editorial board’s jihad against the Koch brothers. After all, who reads the Times’ editorials? Probably the paper’s own reporters don’t bother.

But the paper’s campaign against Charles and David Koch hasn’t been limited to editorials. On the contrary, Times reporters like Eric Lipton, whose lies about Koch and AFP I exposed here, Tim Egan and others have been smearing the brothers for years. If you want a quick recap, a good starting point is this post, dated April 12, 2011, which began:

We have documented here, here, here, here, here, here, and here the New York Times’ sordid campaign against the Koch brothers, Charles and David. In its news stories, op-eds and editorials, the paper has peddled one untruth after another, demonstrating once again that its highest loyalty is to left-wing politics rather than journalistic competence.

Follow the links for a partial history of the Times’ obsessive, biased reporting on the Koch brothers. That history has continued subsequently, as, for example, when the paper promoted a goofy, far-left anti-Koch video. The Times’ vendetta against the Koch brothers has been so pronounced that in January 2012, a Koch Industries spokeswoman wrote to Arthur Brisbane, the Public Editor of the Times, to object to the paper’s single-minded hostility. She began:

We have been observing coverage about us in the Times over the last year that appears in many cases driven by a political agenda and in others so gratuitous that it stretches the bounds of newsworthiness to absurd lengths. You will recall that we brought a number of these specifics to your attention last April and May. Since that time, there have been more than 50 articles in the paper critical of Koch (zero that are positive) written by some 41 different Times authors. You were gracious to offer a continued dialogue on the matter and two such pieces that appeared over the weekend prompt us to reach out again.

She pointed out that the Times’ obsession with the Koch brothers has infected not only its reporters and editorialists, but its food and dance critics. So how did Brisbane respond? He said, in essence: what do you expect? We are liberals.

Yesterday the Times told us that the Democrats’ “new strategy” of smearing the Koch brothers will include “a digital campaign that will use Internet ads and videos, as well as social media….” No doubt the paper will take every opportunity to report on and endorse the Democrats’ “new strategy,” as though it were news. The Times surely will not tell the truth–that the Democrats’ smear campaign has been going on for years, and represents a desperate effort at distraction by a party whose policies have failed and that has no new ideas to offer.