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New Yorker’s Koch profile misses the point

There’s been much attention paid to a recent profile of Charles and David Koch that appeared in a recent edition of New Yorker magazine. It’s also been heavily criticized as biased and based on several false premises.

For example, the New Yorker article is critical of Charles and David Koch for funding organizations that are skeptical and questioning of the claims of global warming alarmists. A recent statement added to the Koch Industries website explains Koch’s position:

A free society and the scientific method require an open, honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree. We’ve strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases. Because it’s crucial to understand whether proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will achieve desired environmental goals and what effects they would likely have on the global economy, we have tried to help highlight the facts of the potential effectiveness and costs of policies proposed.

But the stance of the New Yorker article is that global warming is real, it is man made, and it is ruining the planet. Criticism of the Kochs on this matter makes sense only if you uncritically believe what the New Yorker and its left-wing readership believe.

Today, Daniel Fisher of Forbes Magazine takes a look at the New Yorker piece and finds that “lot of what she [author Jane Mayer] paints as nefarious activity is simple business sense.”

New Yorker’s Koch Profile Misses The Point

By Daniel Fisher

Jane Mayer’s much-discusssed New Yorker profile of the Koch brothers is a useful look at how money can buy an outsized voice in our democracy. But a lot of what she paints as nefarious activity is simple business sense. And anybody who’s spent time talking to Charles Koch, as I have, comes away with the conviction that with this man, business is personal and the personal is political. He’s the kind of guy who can fund the right-wing Cato Institute and hope that its mantra of lower taxes, inviolate property rights and personal responsibility will somehow reverse decades of increasing central-government power. (For the record, it hasn’t.)

For Midwestern entrepreneurs of his generation, there’s nothing wrong or even unusual about thinking the New Deal was a colossal mistake, and spending money in a futile effort to roll it back. Mayer quotes a purported friend of the Koch brothers saying they have “a distrust of the U.S. government, and seeing its expansion, beginning with the New Deal, as a tyrannical threat to freedom.” That’s straight out of Friedrick Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and while not to the taste of most New Yorker readers, barely qualifies as conservative compared to the Wisconsin farmers I encountered in my first newspaper job. They considered zoning to be the vanguard of the Communist revolution (I am not exaggerating).

Continue reading at Forbes.

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7 Comments

  1. Sheila September 1, 2010

    So when are they going to do the Soros story? He’s funding all those Raj Goyle commercials. What does he expect from good ol Raj?

  2. wichitator September 1, 2010

    The Leftie NY city news media attacking the Koch brothers is another pathetic, 20th century style hit piece. Sadly for the media, it is the 21st century and the “journolists” who control the information flow face a rapid response from readers who aren’t buying their usual bilge.

    It is interesting to see how two private citizens, who have created tens of thousands of high paying jobs around the world get the political protoscope treatment while the Obamanation in the White House continues to get the kid glove media treatment.

    When the Manhattanite media mavens write anything about Soros, it is hagiography, far removed from reality.

  3. Lauren September 1, 2010

    Amidst all the Koch bashing, a little discussed fact is that the Koch brothers have also given millions and millions of dollars to non-political causes to support community programs, philanthropies, education programs, and environmental stewardship. They’ve given massive amounts of funding – take a look at the site that goes into more detail about their contributions, http://www.kochfamilyfoundations.com. I’d hardly call that boosting their corporate interests.

    In fact, I wish more successful companies were just as conscientious and generous about supporting programs for education and eliminating the causes of poverty, rather than lobbying the government for handouts.

  4. Anonymous September 2, 2010

    No doubt the story was one-sided and that Koch does a tremendous amount of good in this community but, and there is a but, what about Koch Industries pigging up to the through for the health care money? If it’s about principle …. well, or is it?

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