Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In Attack on Climate Change Activist, Larsen Snorts Koch

MRC Watch Dept. - Tuesday, billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer appeared on the PBS Newshour. Steyer, a big political financier, talked about, among other things, the influence of money in politics.
"...the way that money is used in campaigns isn't good for democracy. It's just in a situation where we felt there's an immense amount of money on the other side and as long as this is the system that the Supreme Court has put in place, there's gotta' be somebody on our side. And when you look at the relative dollars, it really is a David and Goliath situation, and we’re very definitely the small shepherd boy with five rocks and a sling."
This analogy was far too much for the MRC's Alatheia Larsen. "Apparently Tom Steyer knows his Bible better than he knows math," she snipes. "Or perhaps he just hasn’t had a heart to heart with his accountant in several years." Larsen, it seems, knows sniping better than she knows journalism. Of Steyer's shepherd boy comment, she writes,
"The analogy might be cute, but it’s also factually incorrect... Contrary to that image, Steyer was the number one political contributor in the 2014 election cycle. He gave $74 million through his NextGen Climate PAC to push the climate change issue during the election. The Koch brothers, who Steyer attacked in the interview, gave a combined $7.7 million towards the 2014 election - only slightly more than one-tenth of Steyer’s contributions."
But the data she cites from the Center for Responsive Politics only covers individual federal contributions; the Kochs have an entire network of orgs engaged in this activity. In November, as the 2014 campaigns wrapped, the National Journal reported
"The two groups at the heart of the Koch brothers' political network spent a combined $100 million on competitive races in 2014, spokesmen for the organizations tell National Journal."
For those who know the Bible better than math, that's over 14 times the amount Larsen attributes to the Kochs, and that's only accounting for two of the many Koch groups. Overall, the Koch network organizers reported in June that their goal was to spend $300 million in 2014. And when all is tallied, they'll probably have hit that mark (as the Washington Post documented, the network spent over $400 million in the 2012 cycle). Steyer's $74 million can't help but look rather puny by comparison.

While any analogy of a billionaire to a "small shepherd boy" may, in itself, be strained, the David/Goliath comparison isn't, relatively speaking, inappropriate here. The Koch network intends to spend nearly a billion dollars on the 2016 cycle. To put that in context, Tom Steyer's total net worth is reported to be $1.6 billion. David? Probably not. But against the Goliath of the Kochs -- net worth: over $80 billion -- it probably feels that way.

As always, while doing the dirty work of Big Oil by peddling an outrageous lie to to attack a climate-change activist, Larsen fails to disclose the fact that her own employer, the Media Research Center, has been partially financed by oil and gas interests, including ExxonMobil, Marlin Oil, T. Boone Pickens and -- wait for it -- the Koch brothers.


[This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog that becomes concerned when the Media Research Center snorts Koch.]

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