Rolling Stone has declined badly since the days when it employed P.J. O’Rourke as its foreign correspondent. The magazine falls a little farther with this month’s issue, which features the most uninspired hit piece on Koch Industries yet to appear in print. Timed to reinforce the Democrats’ campaign theme, Tim Dickinson’s article contains no original reporting, but merely regurgitates tired and discredited stories about Koch’s alleged misdeeds over the decades.
Dickinson relies especially heavily on a 2011 Bloomberg Markets article that was widely ridiculed at the time. We dissected the Bloomberg piece here, here, here, here, here and here. The devastation was so complete that even sister publication Bloomberg Business Week joined in the criticism. Nevertheless, Dickinson follows the Bloomberg article so slavishly that Bloomberg might want to sue him for plagiarism. (To be scrupulously fair, there are some differences between the Bloomberg piece and the Rolling Stone article. Bloomberg only reached back to the Truman administration for supposed wrongdoing by Koch, while Rolling Stone carries its grudge back for nearly a century.)
Dickinson rehashes virtually every attack on Koch that has been launched over the last five years, no matter how discredited. To my astonishment, he even parrots the infamous “Contango” piece that I suspect got cub reporter Lee Fang fired from Think Progress. I dissected Fang’s article in Contango Confusion, possibly my favorite post ever. But Dickinson doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.
Dickinson’s problem isn’t just impenetrable ignorance, however. He contacted Koch Industries with a series of questions, and Koch responded with 3,200 words of history, fact and analysis–99 of which made it into the Rolling Stone article. You can see the information that Koch gave to Dickinson, and that Dickinson ignored, on KochFacts, where the entire email exchange between Dickinson and Koch is reproduced. The inescapable conclusion is that Dickinson knew that his article was a tissue of lies, misrepresentations and misleading statements and omissions, but published it anyway.
KochFacts also has Koch’s devastating Response to Rolling Stone Story. There is lots of good stuff there, but I especially enjoyed Koch’s commentary on Dickinson’s attempt to work the Keystone Pipeline into his smear:
Mr. Dickinson’s discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline is inaccurate and contradictory. He implies that Koch stands to gain from approval of the pipeline—a claim refuted here and more than a dozen times since such as here, here, here, and here. Yet in the next breath Mr. Dickinson admits that the approval of Keystone would actually “eat into [Koch] profit margins.” He then offers a third distinct claim, that uncertainty over whether Keystone XL will be approved benefits Koch.
It is remarkable that anyone who calls himself a reporter would repeat claims that have been so thoroughly and repeatedly refuted. Some people apparently don’t mind being humiliated in service of a political cause.
A parting excerpt from Koch’s response to Rolling Stone illustrates how absurdly far Democratic Party “journalists” will go to smear their political adversaries:
Other bizarre internal contradictions emerge throughout the article. For instance, Mr. Dickinson first implies Koch was guilty of patent infringement nearly a century ago, then pages later notes that the patent decision against Koch was thrown out when it was discovered the other party had illegally bribed the judge in the case, and that Koch in fact won at the Supreme Court and successfully countersued for anti-trust violations. Elsewhere in the article, Fred Koch is criticized for being both too soft on Stalinism and too “rabidly anti-Communist.”
As I’ve said before about Democratic Party operatives like Tim Dickinson, they don’t embarrass easy.