Investigative reporter Alex Kotch has gotten his hands on the Charles Koch Foundation 2017 tax forms, and guess what! The foundation gave nearly a million dollars to the Daily Caller News Foundation; 960,000 dollars, to be precise. That would pay for a lot of “journalism,” if that’s what the Daily Caller did.
On the many occasions that we talk about the Caller, and refer to its staff like Michael Bastasch or Jason Hopkins as the Koch’s political operatives masquerading as reporters, it’s not just implied based on how their stories so consistently serve the Koch’s interest. Nor is it simply a contextual point about how Bastasch’s entire career has been in the Koch orbit and his sole journalism training has come from a Koch program.
We mean it literally. The Kochs pay for media like the Daily Caller, as well as the American Spectator ($84,000) and the Reason Foundation ($268,000).
And if you think the Daily Caller is a legitimate enough news organization that it would say something that didn’t work in the Kochs’ favor if it were news, remember that the outlet, founded by recently de-hooded white nationalist Tucker Carlson that has employed multiple other white nationalists, appears to be flouting nonprofit rules by channeling resources from its non-profit “foundation” that employs most of its “reporters” into its for-profit arm.
The Center for Media and Democracy’s Lisa Graves summarized the situation for the Washington Post: “It's a huge rip-off for taxpayers if the Daily Caller News Foundation is receiving revenue that it doesn't pay taxes on, to produce stories that are used by the for-profit enterprise, which then makes money on the stories through ads.”
The Kochs give the foundation a big fat check every year, and in turn the foundation’s non-profit reporters (like Bastasch) consistently toe the Kochs’ “government regulations are bad” line. Those propaganda pieces then get put up on the for-profit Daily Caller website, which makes money off the story’s ads.
The Caller claims that “Decisions about what to investigate, as well as our conclusions, are guided only by our journalists.”
But when those journalists have been guided by the Kochs through their entire career, odds are slim they’d do anything to harm the brothers’ profits, lest they stop getting their annual checks from the foundation.
Though George Orwell gets invoked all too often these days, his quote about journalism remains salient: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
Hard to imagine anyone at the DC printing something bad for the Kochs, but “The Daily Caller Public Relations Foundation” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it...
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