Day By Day

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Liberal Paranoia and the Press

Writing in the Weekly Standard, Matthew Continetti illuminates the latest of many conspiracy theories advanced by the political Left.

David Koch’s secretary told him the news. This was in February, during the rowdy standoff between Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and demonstrators backing 14 Democratic legislators who’d fled to Illinois rather than vote on a bill weakening public employee unions. Koch’s secretary said that an editor for a left-wing website, the Buffalo Beast, had telephoned the governor posing as David Koch and recorded the conversation. And Walker had fallen for it! He’d had a 20-minute conversation with this bozo, not once questioning the caller’s identity. But then how could Walker have known? Sure, David Koch was a billionaire whose company had donated to his campaign. But Koch (pronounced “Coke”) had never talked to Walker in his life. 

Yet here were the media reporting that he and his brother Charles were behind Walker’s push against public employees. Anger washed over David like a red tide. He’d been victimized by some punk with a political agenda.
Read the whole thing here.

Two obvious points to make -- First, this explains how Governor Walker could be so easily taken in by the hoaxer -- he has had no contact with his supposed co-conspirators. The Left's conspiracy theory makes no sense. Walker could not be hoaxed if he knew and had  dealt with David Koch in the past, and the success of the hoax therefore invalidates its premise. Second, despite this the Left's bizarre claims that the hoax proved conspiracy were widely accepted and disseminated by the mainstream media which then used the allegations to launch a deep and widespread investigation of the Koch brothers.


Continetti then goes on to detail the wild accusations launched against the Kochs.
Liberals in the media turned into Koch addicts. They ascribed every bad thing under the sun to the brothers and their checkbooks. Pollution, the Tea Party, global warming denial—the Kochs were responsible. The liberals kneaded the facts like clay until the Kochs resembled a Lovecraftian monster: the Kochtopus! Its tentacles stretched everywhere. “Their private agenda is really the eradication of the federal government in almost all of its forms, other than the parts of it that protect personal rights,” New Yorker writer Jane Mayer told NPR’s Terry Gross. Anonymous, the hackers’ collective, accused the Kochs of attempting to “usurp American Democracy.” The Koch brothers manipulated the Tea Partiers, according to Keith Olbermann, by “telling them what to say and which causes to take on and also giving them lots of money to do it with.”
And so it goes, and so it goes. Time and again liberals in the media construct and market insane conspiracy fantasies, and the bizarre nature of these efforts goes largely unnoticed. Liberals are widely portrayed as exponents of reasonable analysis while conservatives are associated with a "paranoid style" of political discourse. Such has been the case ever since half a century ago Columbia historian Richard Hofstader, in a deeply dishonest essay informed by warmed over Frankfort School nonsense,  identified the political right with conspiratorial thinking. Hofstader's essay has ever since been a staple of liberal thought and its application permeates the liberal media. Yet, as Continetti notes, expressions of the "paranoid style" on the Left are largely unremarked on and are even endorsed by the mainstream press. Such is the state of our current political discourse.

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