Updates on recent posts
Old opinions and Robin Capehart
Can’t get enough of that dated Koch propaganda
I’ve spent part of the last two Sundays checking the publication dates of Sunday News-Register opinion columns to see how badly out-of-date they were. (Most of the columns were at least a week old – I wrote about them here and here.) No sense documenting the obvious, I thought, and so I decided to forego the date checks this week. Then I read an op-ed by Robert Bradley Jr., “End Delays in Approving Natural Gas Pipelines” which discussed possible future events that have already happened. I checked and we now have a new leader in the clubhouse: the exact same article on page C5 of today’s News-Register appeared on September 27 in Forbes and other publications. Yes, September 27. For the News-Register: no updates, no warning – just old information doing it’s job of
keeping us informed filling up space in the opinion section and propagandizing for the Kochs.
The News-Register tells us at the bottom of the article:
Guest columnist Robert L. Bradley Jr. is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research in Washington, D.C.
What the N-R doesn’t tell us is that Bradley heads yet another Koch-backed fake institute that is meant to sound like a real research center. As Think Progress describes:
President-elect Donald Trump raised eyebrows late last year when he named the head of an obscure right-wing think tank, with close ties to petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch, to lead his energy transition team. Since then, officials from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) have been appointed to high-level positions at the Department of Energy where they are playing major roles in implementing pro-fossil fuel, anti-renewable energy policies.
As for Bradley:
IER founder and CEO Robert Bradley, Jr. is an adjunct scholar at the Koch-founded and funded Cato Institute and the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute. Bradley previously served as director of policy analysis at Enron, where he wrote speeches for company founder Ken Lay. The company collapsed into bankruptcy in late 2001 with several officials, including CEO Jeff Skilling, serving prison sentences.
Note – I want to be clear on this -- I have no problem with the N-R publishing this type of biased op-ed column as long as the writer’s background and biases are clearly stated. As it stands, however, this is pure-Koch propaganda passed off as valid, expert-supported information.
It’s old, it’s rotting, and it’s beginning to stink.
The Intelligencer’s Capehart/Lazarus Project
Yesterday was Day 2 of our local paper’s efforts to bring former West Liberty president Robin Capehart’s career back from the dead. The lead editorial, “Improving Tax Policy in W.Va.”, began:
The announcement Tuesday that Wheeling resident Robin Capehart has been hired as lead counsel to the state Senate’s Committee on Finance may be sending an important message.
I wondered “what could that message be?” That West Virginia’s Republican leadership is even more divorced from reality than previously imagined? That by hiring Capehart, the finance committee demonstrates that they have even less ethics than he does? I was wrong on both counts:
It is that, despite setbacks on their campaign for tax reform in West Virginia, conservative legislators are willing to try again.
But what about Capehart’s ethics? (Here’s where the Intelligencer gets to rewrite history.)
Democrats condemned the decision to hire Capehart, by Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley. Their criticism focused on his time as president of West Liberty University. Capehart resigned from that job in March 2015, amid allegations he abused his power by using WLU resources to help promote a film he had produced.
(A question? Are they still considered “allegations” if Capehart admitted to them?)
Blair said he looked into complaints against Capehart, and “found not one to be substantiated.”
Blair may be confused but more likely he is lying. The ethics abuses were fully documented by the ethics commission and as the Charleston Gazette reported (see three posts down), it was Capehart who promised to produce affidavits that would exonerate him of the charges. He never did. That post also included Capehart’s affidavit in which he admitted that he had committed the violations. The Intelligencer knows better but it doesn’t matter -- this editorial may appear to be about Republican tax reform but it’s really about bringing Capehart’s career back from the dead.