Jonathan Chait

Ignore That Koch Brother Behind The Curtain

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The many beneficiaries of Koch libertarian largesse bridle at their portrayal as sinister, self-interested moguls pulling strings behind the scenes. But then you read things like this:

Last week, the New York Post's Keith Kelly reported that The Daily Caller, a right-wing news site run by Tucker Carlson, had spent "several weeks" pursuing false allegations that Mayer had committed plagiarism in at least two articles. One of the allegations involved Mayer's landmark expose about Charles and David Koch -- billionaire brothers who have funded conservative organizations tied to the Tea Party movement.

Kelly tells Media Matters that the plagiarism charges were also pitched to the Post, apparently by a different source than the one that tipped off the Daily Caller. The Post investigated and ultimately reported that the allegations were untrue.

After first saying that the plagiarism story would result in an "extensive piece," The Daily Caller ultimately told both Kelly and The New Yorker that the article had been spiked.

Kelly has reported that "the person or persons behind the allegations remains a shadowy mystery," and both Carlson and Daily Caller reporter Jonathan Strong have declined to identify the original source of the smear. 

The shocking and actually somewhat encouraging thing is that, while the Koch brothers or their minions got a couple reporters to investigate this smear, they didn't get anybody to actually publish it. You'd have to think they could find somebody pliable enough. Hey, I've got two kids and a mortgage. Pay me enough money and I'll swear that I was in a secret Marxist cabal with Jane Mayer.

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