Now the Koch brothers think they can buy their own ThinkProgress (but they'll "settle" for another Far, Far Right propaganda machine)
Probably you also got this e-mail from ThinkProgress's Judd Legum:
SUBJECT: Koch Brothers get into the cloning business
Dear ----------- ,
The Koch Brothers are worth $50 billion. They’ve bankrolled the Tea Party, the campaign against climate change science, and entire university departments to advance their right-wing agenda. The newest item on their shopping list: their own ThinkProgress.
The editor of the new Koch-funded venture was explicit: “Our models are the Center for American Progress/Think Progress ... it is time for the right to emulate their success.”
Politico reports today that a central goal of this new, purported ThinkProgress clone is to create a “devastating asymmetric counterweight” that will “combat” and “assault” us and other progressives. While they can rely on the Kochs’ billions, we rely on the support of your donations.
Can you pitch in $5 right now so we have the resources to fight back?
The new organization, called the “Center for American Freedom,” is being run by a lobbyist hired by Koch to advance their political agenda.
This group may have plenty of resources. But they don’t understand what we are about. They are creating an organization to attack us and other progressives.
At our core, we are about using innovative communications messages to advance bold ideas on how to improve the lives of all Americans developed at our sister organization, the Center for American Progress. We also hold politicians, pundits and the media accountable to facts.
The right is coming after us because we are effective. With your help we can be ready to respond and stay one step ahead of the right.
P.S. The founder of this Koch group called us "very impressive." What he doesn't know is success is only possible because of our incredible readers and supporters. Please pitch in $5 now.
I had missed this news, about the Kochs' ThinkProgress cloning scheme, and I find it (a) chilling, (b) unsurprising, and (c) instructive as a reminder of the basic financial asymmetry in our political reality which we're all aware of but maybe forget a little -- if only because there's so damned little we can do about it.
I'm referring of course to the central political reality of the modern era: the emergence of the Gazilliionaire Megacorporate Far, Far Right and the literally limitless resources it's prepared to pour into gaining control, effective or outright, of all levels of government. Of course there have been superrich right-wing patrons as far back as memory goes, but once upon a time you could say that they were more or less putting their money where their mouths were. Oh, it wasn't just "altruism"; they understood that they were making an investment in a dream that could return them their money and then some.
Maybe it's just a difference of degree, but in my mind the emphasis has shifted by the time we reach the kind of megacorporate enterprise of which the most visible specimen is the Koch empire, whose staggering expenditures on far-right causes constitute a "cost of doing business," or more properly an investment from which they expect to reap manyfold returns. Which is not to suggest that people like Charles Koch don't believe the ideological poison they spread and bankroll. It just so happens that supporting their ideological "convictions" is expected to lead to ever larger windfall returns. It's not that we have no philanthropic sources on the Left, or Slightly Left of Center, but nothing on the scale of those people, and hardly any potential donors who have the kind of financial incentives that people like the Kochs do.
Maybe we have to give the visionaries of the Far Right credit for daring to dream the dream that they could buy presidents and Congress and a Supreme Court, not to mention untold numbers of governors and state legislatures and, yes, local governments. Probably many of the natively right-wing superrich folks had to be persuaded that it could be done. No longer, though. And alas, those of us who dream of a government that serves the enlightened interests of all its citizens have no such incentive to offer. As soon as there's even a hint of a "quid" for donors' "quo," it's inescapably the money guys' interests that are going to be served. You or I would call this corruption; the hacks and thugs who've infested the Supreme Court call it, without a modicum of irony (at least publicly), "free speech."
Of course, as Judd suggests, they're not going to actually come up with a ThinkProgress, but that's okay because they don't really want one -- they want yet another propaganda machine (don't they have enough? apparently not) that will serves as a sort of counterweight to the influence of ThinkProgress, which (if I may be so bold as to put word in its mouth) tries to dig out and spread the truth. The last thing the megacorporate zillionaires of the Far, Far Right is any more truth sneaking into circulation. Not when they spend so much to stamp it out.
It is, in its sick way, a tribute to ThinkProgress that it should inspire such an admiring, fearful, and punitive response from the biggest of the big-time Far, Far Right predators. But I don't suppose this is going to be of much comfort to them as they find themselves more and more battling the weight that Koch-type money can bring to the opposition.