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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Attack the messager when you can’t handle the message

Kochtopus: How two rich men stole our democracy, explained in one image.
Image adapted from the International Forum on Globalization’s Kochtopus: Mapping the Influence of Koch Cash.
Last month, Rolling Stone released a very thorough and detailed expose of Koch Industries, revealing the dirty truth behind the brothers vast fortune. As the second largest private company in the world according to Forbes magazine, Koch Industries has fueled the vast money machine which currently threatens our democracy. 

They pollute without worry, knowing that any fine or penalty will never be larger than the money they’ve made by poisoning the environment. How do they know that? Because they bribe politicians to make sure of that.

Apparently the Koch brothers do actually have feelings, as they were hurt by the Rolling Stone’s less than genteel coverage. The Koch Industries response attempted to attack not the article, but the reporter himself, Tim Dickenson, and proclaimed the entire article as a “hit piece” with the implication that he was out to attack the white knights of the Koch brothers.

The attempt to turn Mr. Dickenson’s inquiry into a basic Q&A instead of addressing the actual questions which the journalist is just the latest in a series of attempts to control the way the company is presented in the media. By releasing it themselves, instead of defending themselves, Koch has only proven the content of the article, showing that the company is more concerned with image than being a good steward.

Even more amusing was the veiled accusation that the piece was supplied documents by David Brock, an implication which was not anywhere in the article itself. Anything from reframing a question about the legal trouble that Koch Industries has had over pollution violations, to blanket ignoring of questions over the companies previous flirtation with quantitative trading, the entire response reads like a clear attempt to ignore a reporter’s questions. And then they were incensed that “their side” was not covered in the Rolling Stone article? The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

By purposefully ignoring the reporters questions, Koch Industries left it up to their detractors to create the framework of the article. Koch’s veil of secrecy has created an environment where they cannot control the narrative, and they have to turn to veiled threats against media personalities which dare report on them.

And they wonder why they’re looked at as oligarchs?

By refusing to answer Mr. Dickenson’s questions, they rejected any influence over the article’s content. Now they are upset that they had no say over the article’s content. They have nobody to blame but themselves. They have a horrid record, and have presented themselves as nothing but petty kings seeking a remedy for their past transgressions by burying them, and preventing future ones by buying it.

Nathaniel Downes is the a native of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington developing the next-generation superpowered MMORPG, City of Titans. Feel free to follow Nathaniel Downes on Facebook or Google Plus.He has just released his first book, available in Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle.