Year 4, Month 8, Day 4: Hey, You! Yeah, You!

The Washington Post reports on the Worst People In The Universe:

When environmental journalist David Sassoon began reporting about the billionaire Koch brothers’ interests in the Canadian oil industry last year, he sought information from their privately held conglomerate, Koch Industries. The brothers, who have gained prominence in recent years as supporters of and donors to conservative causes and candidates, weren’t playing. Despite Sassoon’s repeated requests, Koch Industries declined to respond to him or his news site, InsideClimate News.

But Sassoon, who also serves as publisher of the Pulitzer Prize-winning site, heard from the Kochs after his story was posted.

In a rebuttal posted on its Web site,, the company asserted that Sassoon’s story “deceives readers” by suggesting that Koch Industries stood to benefit from construction of the Keystone XL pipeline — a denial Sassoon included in his story. KochFacts went on to dismiss Sassoon as a “professional eco-activist” and an “agenda-driven activist.”

It didn’t stop there. The company took out ads on Facebook and via Google featuring a photo of Sassoon with the headline, “David Sassoon’s Deceptions.” The ad’s copy read, “Activist/owner of InsideClimate News misleads readers and asserts outright falsehoods about Koch. Get the full facts on”

They’ll be coming after me, too, if this one gets published. July 16:

As the newest poster boys for A.J. Liebling’s quip, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” the Koch brothers have attracted plenty of opprobrium from the left. Their long history of ultra-conservative advocacy encompasses the reflexive anti-communism of the John Birch Society, an open hostility to the New Deal, and a double helping of the deep mistrust of intellectual accomplishment and expertise which has long been a staple ingredient of the GOP’s faux populism. Their heavy-handed attempts to silence investigators and critics demonstrate the absurdity of “balancing” two billionaires’ wealth and influence against the efforts of those who take seriously their responsibility to the Jeffersonian ideal of a “well-informed citizenry.”

The Kochs would be garden-variety robber barons were it not for their irresponsible readiness to hinder any progress in dealing with the accelerating climate crisis, a factor which moves them into a special category: species traitors.

Warren Senders

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