The Koch Brothers’ Vast Right-Wing Media Conspiracy

From Mother Jones Magazine: http://motherjones.com/environment/2011/02/koch-brothers-media-beck-greenpeace

Watched any conservative programs lately? Chances are, you’ve seen an oil-funded pundit.

— By Kate Sheppard

Fri Feb. 4, 2011 3:00 AM PST

Last June, Glenn Beck paused in the middle of a rant about the economy and climate on his television show for an important, if rather unexpected, aside. “I want to thank Charles Koch for this information,” he said. Beck’s statement was totally without context, thrown in amid jabs at Al Gore and endorsements of the free market. Months later, it came to light that he recently had been a guest of honor at a semiannual confab sponsored by fossil-fuel billionaire Charles Koch and his brother, David, an event the pair hosts to connect conservative think tanks, politicos, and media types like Beck.

Koch Industries, a Kansas-based company founded in 1940 by father Fred Koch, is the second largest privately held company in America. Charles and David Koch are tied as the fifth wealthiest people in the nation, worth a combined $43 billion. Their money comes through a variety of business interests—ranching, mining, oil refining, and production of paper products, fertilizer, and chemicals. It would be an understatement to say that they have much at stake when it comes to efforts to cut climate-changing emissions.

Indeed, the brothers have spent $31.3 million since 2005 on organizations that deny or downplay climate change, according to a forthcoming report from Greenpeace that updates its report on Koch’s climate denial work released last year. But it’s the web of media influence the Kochs have created that perhaps accounts best for their power—particularly when it comes to sowing doubt about climate change.

Koch Industries describes its semiannual shindigs, which began in 2003, as an “opportunity for attendees and presenters to discuss ways of preserving and advancing economic freedom in the United States and to share ideas about the free-market principles that have made our country great.” The guest list for last weekend’s meeting is still under wraps, but the June 2010 event in Aspen drew a who’s who of conservative media stars; Besides Beck, there were Philip Anschutz, owner of the Examiner newspapers and the Weekly Standard; Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist and Weekly Standard contributor; Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal editorial board member; and Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor for The National Review.

Continue reading at: http://motherjones.com/environment/2011/02/koch-brothers-media-beck-greenpeace

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