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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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