Last Thursday the WaPo published the usual takedown of the nefarious Koch brothers, purporting to show that “biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands” is a Koch brothers holding, and that they would be a big beneficiary of the Keystone Pipeline. John Hinderaker took them on, then the WaPo replied, and now Hinderaker has replied to their reply.
It’s not just a reply by Hinderaker, it’s an evisceration of the WaPo article, its authors, and the WaPo editors. You have to read the whole thing to get the details, but here’s an excerpt:
So in the Post’s view, it is acceptable to publish articles that are both literally false (Koch is the largest tar sands leaseholder) and massively misleading (the Keystone Pipeline is all about Koch Industries), if by doing so the paper can “stir and inflame public debate in this election year?”…
Let me offer an alternative explanation of why the Washington Post published their Keystone/Koch smear: 1) The Washington Post in general, and Mufson and Eilperin in particular, are agents of the Left, the environmental movement and the Democratic Party. 2) The Keystone Pipeline is a problem for the Democratic Party because 60% of voters want the pipeline built, while the party’s left-wing base insists that it not be approved. 3) The Keystone Pipeline is popular because it would broadly benefit the American people by creating large numbers of jobs, making gasoline more plentiful and bringing down the cost of energy. 4) Therefore, the Democratic Party tries to distract from the real issues surrounding the pipeline by claiming, falsely, that its proponents are merely tools of the billionaire Koch brothers–who, in fact, have nothing to do with Keystone one way or the other. 5) The Post published its article to assist the Democratic Party with its anti-Keystone talking points.
There’s more, much more, about the relationships of one of the article’s authors to various leftwing “green” causes with an interest in sinking the pipeline. It’s a very convincing indictment of the WaPo and the writer.
Hinderaker is a formidable foe in terms of his knowledge and his ability to write. As a blogger, he has a wide audience—on the right. But there’s little question in my mind that the WaPo knows that its desired message “Koch Brothers evil, Keystone Pipeline benefits them, Keystone Pipeline evil,” will be received (and quoted) by far more people than will ever hear Hinderaker’s on-target reply.
The WaPo appears to have factored in all of this, and has decided that—in the words of Churchill—“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” I can almost guarantee that the “Kochs own the Keystone Pipeline” meme is already widely established, and that Hinderaker’s excellent refutation will hardly make a dent in it.
That’s the power of the press and the power of propaganda. The esteem in which papers like the WaPo are held has dropped in recent years, but not nearly enough to cow it into telling the truth or to end its influence.