More unlabeled Koch propaganda from the Wheeling News-Register
Yesterday’s News-Register featured yet another piece of Koch propaganda pretending to be a serious study. The editorial, “Cutting Back on Regulations,” references a recent study done by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The study looked at the number of states’ regulations (including West Virginia’s) and suggested that the states ought to reduce their number. The editorial, of course, agrees and argues that West Virginia ought to examine, limit, and then eliminate some of its regulations.
As usual, the editorial tells us nothing about the source of the study, the Mercatus Center. If you go to SourceWatch, the go-to source for this type of information, you quickly understand why Mercatus is a biased source:
The Mercatus Center was founded and is funded by the Koch Family Foundations. According to financial records, the Koch family has contributed more than thirty million dollars to George Mason University, much of which has gone to the Mercatus Center, a nonprofit organization. Democratic strategist Rob Stein described the Mercatus Center as "ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington.”
The Mercatus Center has engaged in campaigns involving deregulation, especially environmental deregulation.
The blogger at Blue Virginia explains how Mercatus works for the Kochs:
Mercatus is very useful to the Koch brothers, of course, because they can count on the corporate/clueless media to cite it as some sort of unbiased, neutral “think tank,” when in reality it is wildly biased, and certainly not a “think tank” the way most people would ever “think” of that concept.
As with last month’s astroturfed local column written by the NFIB, it’s more unlabeled Koch propaganda passed off as reputable information.
Let me be clear on this: I have no problem with a news source using information from the Mercatus Center. What I object to is the news source not telling us the Center’s inherent bias.
By the way, the News-Register editorial writer cannot plead that he/she was unaware of the Koch connection. I don’t think the writer is that naïve, but more importantly, the editorial appears to be based upon a month-old news article by the Charleston Gazette-Mail's Phil Kabler that has the same information that is found in the editorial including the two specific quotes from West Virginia legislators. Unlike the editorial, however, Kabler tells us:
According to the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch, the Mercatus Center was founded and is largely funded by the Koch Family Foundations, with Charles and David Koch described as key funders of right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network.
One of the responsibilities of an ethical persuader is to reveal this information so that the audience can make an informed decision. Propagandists, like our local papers, have no such obligation.
More Clinton bashing
In case you missed it, Mike Myer’s Saturday column was a 660-word summary of the 2015 Clinton Foundation 990 Report to the IRS. Yes, it’s riveting! It’s one statistic after another and I would venture a guess that no one – not even the most rabid Hillary-hater among the local readership – got through the entire Saturday column.
The column begins with a justification for its existence:
Because many Americans open their hearts and wallets to worthy causes during the holidays, it seems like a good time to take a look at one proclaimed loudly for several years to have been very worthy: the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Except that the Clinton Foundation never solicited from ordinary citizens. The column goes downhill from there as Myer plods through what was spent on salaries, grants and meetings.
Why was this column written? Neither Clinton is president and their foundation is now irrelevant to most of the population. Okay, maybe this focus is intended to distract us from the misdeeds of the current administration or at the least, reinforce Trump supporters’ belief that she’s still “crooked Hillary.” (That reminds me, whatever happened to that guy who lead the “lock her up” chant at the Republican convention?) But for Clinton-haters like Myer there’s always room for one more column/editorial about Hillary. Hillary Clinton may be irrelevant as far as current American politics is concerned but I’m sure this is not the last time we’ll read about Benghazi, emails, uranium sales, and the Clinton Foundation. Lucky us.