Question: Should two of the richest men in the richest country on earth set up a separate company to handle public relations if they want to remain reclusive in Wichita, Arkansas and Manhattan Island, New York?
I'd say, since that's what Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have done, their concerns about privacy can be rightfully questioned. Tasking Melissa Cohlmia
Director, Corporate Communication, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC with chiding Art Brisbane at the New York Times for the kind of coverage provided, especially in the opinion and culture sections, suggests a concern over style, rather than substance. The coverage is great, but they'd like it to be more Koch-friendly.
The whole exchange with Arthur Brisbane can be found on the Kochfacts.com web site which, presumably, puts it all into the public domain. But, I think I'll restrict myself to the palliative blather dished out be Art in his responses to "Missy," a rather disrespectful form of address from where I sit.
Anyway, Art opines:
I will agree in the broad sense that, taken together, it is clear that this community of opinion-based writers — as distinct from news reporters producing material for the main news sections — clearly share a worldview that is liberal and antithetical to the Koch brothers’ political perspective.
and goes on to bite the hand that feeds him:
I remain steadfastly opposed to the paper proffering only liberal perspectives in news coverage. But in the opinion-based features of the paper, The Times is within its right to do this. In my view, it makes for predictable and sometimes very dull reading. But others apparently don’t agree.
Never mind that he's conceding that there are "liberal perspectives in news coverage."
So, I actually have some sympathy for Ms. Cohlmia's retort:
We would still like to hear some justification from senior Times editors about why the articles involving us are so heavily weighted — in topic, frequency, and content — toward the left wing perspective.
Why couldn't he just come out and say that the motives of people intent on sucking up riches while the wages of working people go down are suspect as far as the welfare of the general citizenry (forget charity cases) is concerned?
On the other hand, one is moved to wonder how such apparently thin-skinned individuals got to be industrial moguls. Are their days longer than those of everyone else? No doubt, the answer is that they employ a clipping service, as do many of the denizens of Capitol Hill, who are, after all, charged with being responsive to the public. Why the Koch brothers resent being referenced in connection with what members of the Occupy movement eat is a bit puzzling.
Let me reiterate that these are far from the only such examples. In October, a Times dining critic commenting about what protestors prefer to eat wrote, “Unlike the Tea Party, funded as it is by wealthy reactionaries like the Koch Brothers, ‘Occupy’ is sustained by energy, frustration…pizza and apples paid for by supporters or donated by farmers.” In November, one of your columnists denounced where we choose to live, saying, “even when oligarchs clearly get their income from heartland, red-state sources, where do they live? OK, one of the Koch brothers still lives in Wichita; but the other lives in New York.” And though the group Americans for Prosperity has tens of thousands of members, supporters, and co-founders, it is routinely described specifically as a project of ours.
The choice of the pronoun "we" suggests that the Kochs had time to dictate this missive themselves.