A new report from UnKochMyCampus shows the Koch disinformation machine has been funding universities at an accelerating pace, funding a network of over 225 campuses and non-profits with a total of $456 million between 2005 and 2019.
In 2005 the Koch philanthropies sent out over $2 million, which grew to around $10 million a year by 2009, $12 million in 2012, and nearly $20 million in 2013 — and they were only getting started. Koch philanthropies doled out nearly $25 million in 2014, $33 million in 2015, nearly $50 million in 2016, $62 million in 2017, $87 million in 2018, and $112 million in 2019.
What’s all this for? The report explains that Koch’s education goals are threefold. The first is to create “campus centers and think tanks that produce research that endorses/supports the Koch network’s policy agenda.” Places like the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University take in Koch money, and pump out pseudo-academic, “conservative” “economic” arguments for why regulations on polluters are bad that are picked up by Koch’s pseudo-media outlets like the Daily Caller or RealClearEnergy, and championed by Koch lobby groups.
The second goal of the Koch education
investments philanthropies is the “mainstreaming [of] favorable ideas to the general public via curriculum and public relations strategies.” So the Koch network uses these people to make their obsession with using the “free market” as an excuse to exploit people for profit sound more mainstream and normal, since it’s coming out of your friendly local/prestigious college or university.
And then the third thing is what really pays testament to Charles oops, sorry, forgot the 2018, no, 2019, no, 2020 rebrand- “Chuckie” Koch’s deeply rooted and long-term commitment to being the worst person ever (which came to fruition with the election of Donald Trump, who seized on Koch’s conspiracy-hungry conservative audience then staffed up with Koch’s personnel) is that they use these colleges to groom the next generation of talking heads to carry their water.
Or, as the report puts it with slightly less sneering, these university centers are useful for “identifying sympathetic students to recruit into the Koch network ‘talent pipeline.’ Koch and his network provide large financial gifts with terms and conditions attached to the scope of research, curriculum taught, and faculty hired to mainstream ideas that validate their policy objectives.”
If the Koch infiltration of colleges weren’t bad enough, a second revelation in the report is that they’re also sending John Stossel after your kids. Stossel, the “former FOX Business host who consistently denies the scientific evidence of global warming,” the report explains, is apparently the most kid-friendly person the Koch’s Center for Independent Thought could find to produce a “teaching series for middle and high school teachers.” How fun!
Turns out his company, JFS Productions, “received over $1.5 mlilion from the Koch Institute from 2017 to 2019, a time when Stossel’s JFS-branded op-eds promoted longtime climate change deniers and disinformation that contradicts climate science.”
For example of the sort of work JFS produced for Koch, see this 2020 op-ed in which he and Marc Morano reference our criticism and pretend like they’re not being paid by the industry to spread denial!
Because what could be a better apotheosis for Koch "free market" ideology than, instead of actually trying to win in the marketplace of ideas, just buying the marketplace itself?