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The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Koch Brothers

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David Koch

COMMENT: Peter Schweiz­er, author of “Clin­ton Cash” gave one of the fea­tured speech­es last sum­mer at a Koch Broth­ers event. He is, basi­cal­ly, a Koch Broth­ers polit­i­cal hit­man.

Fox News, the New York Times, and the Wash­ing­ton Post have all signed a con­tract for exclu­sive agree­ments with the author of an upcom­ing book about Hillary Clin­ton and the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion.  It wasn’t sur­pris­ing that Fox signed up for the deal since the author, the very same Peter Schweiz­er, runs a right-wing knock off of the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­ity Office (called the “Gov­ern­ment Account­abiltiy Insti­tute”) and pre­vi­ously served as an advis­er to Sarah Palin. For the New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post, the deci­sion raised a few eye­brows.

This grotesque devel­op­ment high­lights the grow­ing and malig­nant role of Big Mon­ey and the con­cen­tra­tion of eco­nom­ic pow­er in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and sig­nals the dimin­ish­ing morsels of objec­tiv­i­ty by our main­stream media.

“Look Who Was Fea­tured Speak­er at the Koch Sum­mit” by Dig­by [Hul­la­baloo]; 5/01/2015.

Peter Schweiz­er author of “Clin­ton Cash”, who they humor­ously call a “researcher.” And there’s audio of it:

[A]ccording to audio obtained by The Under­cur­rent and Lady Lib­er­tine from a source who was present, Schweiz­er spoke at a polit­i­cal strat­egy sum­mit for the Koch broth­ers last sum­mer, urg­ing donors to relent­lessly pur­sue the left and ral­ly­ing them ahead of a big fundrais­ing pitchHis own orga­ni­za­tion, the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­ity Insti­tute receives fund­ing from Koch-fund­ed groups.

Schweiz­er told the crowd:

That debate is going to come down to the ques­tion of inde­pen­dence ver­sus depen­dence… The left and the aca­d­e­mic sphere is not going to let up. The ques­tion is, are we going to let up? And I would con­tend to you that we can­not let up.

Asked if “Clin­ton Cash” was moti­vated by this strat­egy of relent­less pur­suit, Kurt Bardel­la, whose firm, Endeav­or Strate­gies, rep­re­sents Schweiz­er, said:

As he has in sev­eral speech­es as a life­long con­ser­v­a­tive, Schweiz­er was espous­ing his view that con­ser­v­a­tives should be informed, engaged, and active.

Kevin Gen­try, the emcee and a vice pres­i­dent of the Charles Koch Foun­da­tion, lat­er named “com­pet­i­tive intel­li­gence,” the busi­ness ter­mi­nol­ogy equiv­a­lent of oppo­si­tion research, as one of the enu­mer­ated Koch polit­i­cal invest­ment areas.

...

You can find a tran­script at the link

He’s a Koch hit­man:

Schweizer’s speech, enti­tled “The Stakes: Who Will Define the Amer­i­can Dream,” teed up the Kochs’ appeal to raise $290 mil­lion in dona­tions for their fundrais­ing hub, Free­dom Part­ners, its affil­i­ated net­work of non-prof­its, and a new­ly cre­ated super-PAC called Free­dom Part­ners Action Fund. Bardel­la declined to answer whether Schweiz­er was speak­ing in a fundrais­ing capac­ity for GAI, or whether Schweiz­er or GAI received any funds from Koch-affil­i­at­ed orga­ni­za­tions.

Stephen Ban­non, the direc­tor of con­ser­v­a­tive pro­pa­ganda films like the Sarah Palin biopic “The Unde­feated” and a fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor with Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Pro­duc­tions, chairs GAI’s board. Anoth­er GAI board mem­ber is Ron Robin­son, who also sits on the boards of Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Foun­da­tion.

Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Pro­duc­tions was the plain­tiff in the Supreme Court case Cit­i­zens Unit­ed v. Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion – the deci­sion that rolled back sig­nif­i­cant cam­paign finance law per­tain­ing to inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures. At the cen­ter of that land­mark case was a polit­i­cal doc­u­men­tary-cum-attack ad on Hillary Clin­ton called “Hillary: The Movie,” released ahead of the 2008 pri­mary. Now near­ly eight years lat­er ahead of the 2016 pri­mary, Schweitzer has pub­lished what could be con­sid­ered the fol­low-up, Hillary: The Book.

And Cit­i­zens Unit­ed goes all the way back to White­wa­ter..

“New York Times, Wash­ing­ton Post, Fox News Strike Deals for Anti-Clin­ton Research” by Dylan Byers; Politi­co4/20/15. 

 The New York Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post and Fox News have made exclu­sive agree­ments with a con­ser­v­a­tive author for ear­ly access to his oppo­si­tion research on Hillary Clin­ton, a move that has con­founded mem­bers of the Clin­ton cam­paign and some reporters, the On Media blog has con­firmed.

“Clin­ton Cash: The Untold Sto­ry of How and Why For­eign Gov­ern­ments and Busi­nesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” will debut on May 5. But the Times, the Post and Fox have already made arrange­ments with author Peter Schweiz­er to pur­sue some of the mate­r­ial includ­ed in his book, which seeks to draw con­nec­tions between Clin­ton Foun­da­tion dona­tions and speak­ing fees and Hillary Clinton’s actions as sec­re­tary of state. Schweiz­er is the pres­i­dent of the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­ity Insti­tute, a con­ser­v­a­tive research group, and pre­vi­ously served as an advis­er to Repub­li­can vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Sarah Palin.

Fox News’ use of Schweizer’s book has sur­prised no one. The bulk of the network’s pro­gram­ming is con­ser­v­a­tive, and the book’s pub­lisher, Harper­Collins, is owned by News Cor­po­ra­tion. But the Times and Post’s deci­sion to part­ner with a par­ti­san researcher has raised a few eye­brows. Some Times reporters view the agree­ment as unusu­al, sources there said. Still oth­ers defend­ed the agree­ment, not­ing that it was no dif­fer­ent from using a campaign’s oppo­si­tion research to inform one’s report­ing — so long as that research is fact-checked and vet­ted. A spokesper­son for the Times did not pro­vide com­ment by press time.

In an arti­cleabout the book on Mon­day, the Times said “Clin­ton Cash” was “poten­tially more unset­tling” than oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive books about Clin­ton “both because of its focused report­ing and because major news orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing The Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post and Fox News have exclu­sive agree­ments with the author to pur­sue the sto­ry lines found in the book.”

Both the Times and the Post ini­tially did not respond to requests for com­ment on Mon­day. How­ever, at 2 p.m., hours after the ini­tial pub­li­ca­tion of this item, spokes­peo­ple from both news­pa­pers sent state­ments in which edi­tors defend­ed the deci­sions to work with Schweiz­er.

“We had access to some mate­r­ial in the book, but we want­ed to do our own report­ing,” Times Wash­ing­ton bureau chief and polit­i­cal direc­tor Car­olyn Ryan said.

“We made an arrange­ment with Peter Schweizer’s pub­lisher so we could read his book before pub­li­ca­tion because we are always will­ing to look at new infor­ma­tion that could inform our cov­er­age,” said Post Nation­al Edi­tor Cameron Barr. “Mr. Schweizer’s back­ground and his point of view are rel­e­vant fac­tors, but not dis­qual­i­fy­ing ones. What inter­ests us more are his facts and whether they can be the basis for fur­ther report­ing by our own staff that would be com­pelling to our read­ers. There is no finan­cial aspect to this arrange­ment.”

On Mon­day, a source with knowl­edge of the arrange­ments told the On Media blog that CBS’ “60 Min­utes” and ABC News turned down offers for sim­i­lar exclu­sive access to por­tions of the book’s con­tents. A “60 Min­utes” spokesper­son said only, “We do not dis­cuss the sto­ries we are work­ing on.” An ABC News spokesper­son did not respond to a request for com­ment.

Harper­Collins is mar­ket­ing “Clin­ton Cash” as a “metic­u­lously researched” book that “rais­es seri­ous ques­tions of judg­ment, of pos­si­ble indebt­ed­ness to an array of for­eign inter­ests, and ulti­mately, of fit­ness for high pub­lic office.” In it, Schweiz­er seeks to show how dona­tions to the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion and speak­ing fees paid to for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton may have influ­enced Hillary Clinton’s deci­sions at the State Depart­ment.

Clinton’s defend­ers are already slam­ming the book. Media Mat­ters For Amer­ica, the lib­eral watch­dog group found­ed by Clin­ton ally David Brock, pub­lished a reporton Mon­day detail­ing “ten inci­dents of sig­nif­i­cant errors, retrac­tions, or ques­tion­able sourc­ing by Schweiz­er.”

“Schweiz­er is a par­ti­san right-wing activist whose writ­ings have been marked with false­hoods and retrac­tions, with numer­ous reporters exco­ri­at­ing him for facts that ‘do not check out,’ sources that ‘do not exist,’ and a basic fail­ure to prac­tice ‘Jour­nal­ism 101,’” Brock said in a state­ment. “Buy­ers should beware and con­sider the source.”

...

 

Discussion

One comment for “The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Koch Brothers”

  1. We should prob­a­bly expect a lot more sto­ries like this: The New York Times just had to issue a sec­ond cor­rec­tion to their bomb­shell sto­ry last Thurs­day about the request by two US inspec­tors gen­er­al for the DOJ to open a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion into Hillary Clin­ton’s pri­vate email serv­er over con­cerns that it could have con­tained clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion. It was only lat­er that we received the cor­rec­tions that it was­n’t a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion at all but just a “secu­ri­ty refer­ral”, some­thing very dif­fer­ent from a crim­i­nal refer­ral.

    And while the paper has walked back the sto­ry, exec­u­tive edi­tor Dean Baquet asserts that the reporters should not be blamed “because our very good sources [in the gov­ern­ment] had it wrong.”

    So, under the best case sce­nario, one of the NY Times’s “very good sources” in the gov­ern­ment is feed­ing them sen­sa­tion­al­is­tic mis­in­for­ma­tion that’s so “hot” that news­pa­pers that receive the tips just can’t stop them­selves from imme­di­ate­ly going to the press­es. And that’s a best case sce­nario:

    TPM Livewire
    NYT Slaps A Sec­ond Cor­rec­tion On ‘Mess’ Of A Sto­ry About Clin­ton Emails

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished July 27, 2015, 11:32 AM EDT

    The New York Times append­ed a sec­ond cor­rec­tion over the week­end to a sto­ry it pub­lished last week about an inves­ti­ga­tion into Hillary Clin­ton’s pri­vate email account that she used at the State Depart­ment.

    The news­pa­per ini­tial­ly report­ed Thurs­day that two inspec­tors gen­er­al had asked the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment to open a crim­i­nal inquiry into whether Clin­ton mis­han­dled clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion on her pri­vate email account. After vocal push­back from Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, the Times updat­ed its sto­ry to indi­cate the Clin­ton was not the direct tar­get of the alleged request for a crim­i­nal inquiry. No clar­i­fi­ca­tion or cor­rec­tion was added to the arti­cle at that time.

    The DOJ pushed back on the sto­ry Fri­day, say­ing that it was giv­en a refer­ral to inves­ti­gate the poten­tial mis­han­dling of clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion in con­nec­tion with the for­mer sec­re­tary of state’s pri­vate email account. But the nature of the inquiry request­ed was not crim­i­nal, the agency said.

    DOJ’s state­ment prompt­ed the Times to issue a 64-word cor­rec­tion Fri­day after­noon stat­ing that the arti­cle had “mis­stat­ed the nature of the refer­ral to the Jus­tice Depart­ment regard­ing Hillary Clinton’s per­son­al email account while she was sec­re­tary of state” based on infor­ma­tion from senior gov­ern­ment offi­cials.

    A sec­ond, 58-word cor­rec­tion was added to the arti­cle on Sun­day:

    An arti­cle in some edi­tions on Fri­day about a request to the Jus­tice Depart­ment for an inves­ti­ga­tion regard­ing Hillary Clinton’s per­son­al email account while she was sec­re­tary of state referred incor­rect­ly, using infor­ma­tion from senior gov­ern­ment offi­cials, to the request. It was a “secu­ri­ty refer­ral,” per­tain­ing to pos­si­ble mis­han­dling of clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion, offi­cials said, not a “crim­i­nal refer­ral.”

    The Time’s pub­lic edi­tor, Mar­garet Sul­li­van, described the process of walk­ing back the news­pa­per’s ini­tial report­ing as a “mess” in a Mon­day col­umn.

    An edi­tor involved with the sto­ry, Matt Pur­dy, told Sul­li­van that the news­pa­per botched the sto­ry “because our very good sources had it wrong.” Exec­u­tive edi­tor Dean Baquet agreed that the blame for the bad infor­ma­tion should­n’t lay with the reporters and edi­tors on the sto­ry.

    “You had the gov­ern­ment con­firm­ing that it was a crim­i­nal refer­ral,” Baquet told Sul­li­van. “I’m not sure what they could have done dif­fer­ent­ly on that.”

    “You had the gov­ern­ment con­firm­ing that it was a crim­i­nal referral...I’m not sure what they could have done dif­fer­ent­ly on that.”
    Yeah, we should def­i­nite­ly, expect a lot more sto­ries like this.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 27, 2015, 5:47 pm

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