Thursday, June 6, 2013

Charles Koch as Indpendent, Balanced Views, Newspaper Man

Billionaire Charles Koch confirmed that his company, Koch Industries Inc., is looking into the possibility of acquiring newspapers, but insisted he is looking for a profitable business, rather than a forum to advance his politics, reports WSJ.

"There is a need for focus on real news, not news with an agenda or news that is really editorializing,"  Koch said in an interview with WSJ.

Koch added in a follow-up statement that the editorial page of any newspaper his company acquired "would be a marketplace of ideas where all sorts of approaches to public-policy issues are vetted and contrasted, and there could be ongoing debate."

Two things to keep in mind here. First, this "all sorts of approaches to public-policy issues" suggests a typical Kochnack attempt to dilute the libertarian message, with all sorts of madness.

But, while the Koch brothers may have found a new supposed desire to publish Paul Krugman, Brad Delong and Ben Bernanke to bring "balance" to any paper they purchase, this is unlikely to mean a new venue for hard core libertarian views. As David Gordon reminded us:
[Koch lieutenant Ed] Crane and Koch could not tolerate what they deemed blatant disloyalty. Even though Rothbard was the leading theorist of libertarianism and the Cato Institute had been established to promote his views, they expected him to obey the orders sent down from on high. No one at all acquainted with Rothbard could have reasonably expected him to do so. He was always his own man and would agree with Dante: "Follow your own course, and let the people say what they will."
Rothbard was removed from his position at Cato, and he was no longer invited to lecture at the summer conferences of the Institute for Humane Studies, another organization under Koch's patronage[...]
After Rothbard departed from Cato, he joined forces with the Mises Institute, established in 1982 by Lew Rockwell. The new group was a standing reproach to Koch and Crane, since its consistent defense, encouragement, and development of a Rothbardian program were exactly the program that the Cato Institute had betrayed. The Koch forces endeavored to strangle the new group in its cradle. Rockwell received a telephone call from George Pearson, Koch's Wichita lieutenant in charge of libertarian programs. He screamed at Rockwell that he must on no account found a group named after [the great economist] Ludwig von Mises. Pearson informed him that Mises was an extreme and polarizing figure who should be downplayed. When Rockwell nevertheless proceeded as planned, Koch and his minions actively sought to discourage contributions to the new group.
Gordon quotes Rothbard:
 What Charles demands above-all is absolute, unquestioning loyalty[...]Control for C. K. also means the willingness of his top managers to speak to him an hour every day, to go over and clear with the Donor every aspect, no matter how minor, of the day’s decisions.
To be sure, a newspaper owner should be free to print whatever he wants in his own newspaper, but Charles Koch promoting the idea that  Koch newspapers are not going to be guided by Kochanack views is absurd and shows Koch doing nothing but promoting Kochanack propaganda before the Koch brothers have even purchased a newspaper.

1 comment:

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