The Washington Post’s chief apologist/excusemaker, Patrick Pexton was last seen lecturing readers to leave Jennifer Rubin alone when she was being racist as well as reminding them that her racism is a feature and not a bug:
If your politics are liberal and you don’t generally read Rubin, but you read her Norway posts, you probably would be pretty offended. But if you are a conservative, or someone who reads Rubin regularly, you’ll know that this is what she does and who she is.
Since then, I’m sure Pexton has gone back to whatever it is that omsbudsmen do like explaining why Marmaduke was moved to the Style section or something. Hey, it’s a living.
But about two and a half weeks ago the Post re-ran a story from communist red sheet Bloomberg Markets magazine pointing out that the Koch brothers are treasonous corporate criminal douchebags and ever since then one of the Koch Bros. (either Greedor or Grabby Bob, one of them) has been texting the WaPo late at night wondering if they would be willing to run cover for them a little bit as a professional courtesy, you know, one malevolent corporation to another.
Obviously the WaPo agreed and unfortunately for Pexton he drew the short straw but it seems that his heart is not really in it as he starts it off by playing the equivalency card:
The Koch brothers, Charles and David, are the betes noire for liberals, much like George Soros is the bugbear for conservatives.
The Kochs own a multinational conglomerate — regarded as the second-largest privately held company in the world — that makes everything from toilet paper and Lycra to Dixie cups and Stainmaster carpets. They also have massive oil interests, recently bought ethanol plants, deal in derivatives and employ tens of thousands of people worldwide.
The brothers tie for fourth on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, with a net worth of $25 billion each. Soros, by the way, is seventh with $22 billion. The conservative-to-libertarian brothers, just like the liberal Soros, spend a great deal of their money to push U.S. politics, government and society in a particular direction through donations to politicians, campaign finance groups and philanthropies.
Of course everyone remembers all the fines and settlements that that George Soros has had to pay out for massive and indiscriminate pollution and death and that selling stuff to Iran thing that Bloomberg wrote about …except that was the Koch brothers. But other than that – still the same.
So, Pexton tries another angle:
It all looks pretty bad, and it is, on many levels. Koch companies paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and settlements to resolve these cases, no small change.
But I think The Post erred in republishing this story, or at least in the way it did. And when the Kochs complained to The Post after publication, The Post’s response wasn’t handled well.
Now, I couldn’t find any outright falsehoods in the story that would warrant corrections. Bloomberg, too, has published no corrections. But I think the story lacked context, was tendentious and was unfair in not reporting some of the exculpatory and contextual information Koch provided to Bloomberg.
This is what is known as the “Technically True, And Collectively Nonsense” defense which was imperfected by a certain gawky innumerate but unfortunately has failed to catch on with the general population who are encumbered with antiquated notions of self respect.
So let’s see what else Pexton is going to dump in the toilet next to see if it floats…Hmmmm. Okay, here we go:
In the days immediately after Bloomberg published its story but before The Post republished it, Koch swung its PR machine into action and put up a point-by-point rebuttal on KochFacts.com. The Powerline blog, written by lawyers who defend conservative causes and who have ties to the Kochs, did a deep-dive legal rebuttal of the story. Jennifer Rubin, The Post’s conservative opinion blogger, did a post that quoted Koch General Counsel Mark Holden extensively.
Yeah, lets see… disinterested and impartial Koch PR machine, Rubin stenography, that guy at Powerline. Nope. No sale. Wanna try again?
As Indiviglio and Rubin wrote, lots of companies have foreign subsidiaries that until recently did business with Iran, including GE, Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar. Many multinational companies have been investigated and prosecuted for violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and been fined and prosecuted for violating clean water and clean air laws.
Are the Kochs worse, better or in the middle? We can’t tell from this story.
Post Business Editor Greg Schneider said he “was aware” before republication that “the piece had stirred up some reaction, but we look to highlight work that is provocative.”
I think newspapers should always be provocative. But they should also be fair and provide context.
From this point forward all Washington Post writers, when writing about the Kochs, should provide some sort of ‘baseline’ or ranking system so that the average WaPo reader can appropriately rank them on a Scale of True Evilness (possibly applying the same algorithms developed by the BCS) . I suggest slotting the Koch’s somewhere where it is clearly understood that they are slightly less evil than a pedophile with herpes but they still have a ways to go before they approach the much more civic-minded Mafia.
I think reasonable people will agree that this is fair…
(Image Gus Ruelas/Greenpeace)