The Daily Caller has a fact checking project called Check Your Fact, that Facebook considers legitimate and both it and Daily Caller look like a legitimate news organization. They're not. The Daily Caller is once again a Koch propaganda machine, as the new Managing Editor for the Daily Caller’s News Foundation is Michael Bastasch, whose entire career, save for a stint at Fox News, has been Koch-dependent. We noted his new position in early April, and a month later can confirm Bastasch is back at publishing climate disinformation through the Daily Caller.
If you need a reminder, Bastasch has zero real journalism experience or training. Instead, as we noted back in 2016 before he deleted his LinkedIn profile, he’s got a degree in politics, followed by internships at the Charles Koch Institute and various other Koch propaganda appendages, including a journalism training fellowship at the Daily Caller and something called the American Journalism Institute, which sounds legit, but more on that momentarily.
Now, to be fair, Bastasch hasn’t been 100% addicted to Koch, nor has Daily Caller. From 2019 to 2022, he was a writer for Fox News, which might be considered journalism experience, except he was at the opinion program Ingraham Angle, which is … not news so much as school shooting conspiracies, mask/covid disinfo, climate denial, and violent political propaganda.
So that’s who’s steering the ship now over at the “oops we kept hiring white nationalists” Daily Caller News Foundation, where “all complaints about a story’s accuracy or fairness must be taken seriously,” according to its About page, where they say they’re “committed to giving everybody a fair hearing if they believe a story is unfair or incorrect.”
Oh really? Yes, “complaints about a story should be emailed to MichaelBastasch@DailyCallerNewsFoundation.org. If a correction is warranted it will be published as soon as possible. Serious errors will be highlighted at the top of a story.”
Now that’s particularly rich, because Bastasch has embraced a stinging criticism of his work as a point of pride on his Twitter bio, which reads “Critics used to say this of my reporting: ‘You can't prove it false’,” characteristically cherry-picking a quote out of context.
The context for that snippet? Susan Joy Hassol described how “you can really mislead people without outright lying, and in a way that’s more dangerous. You can't prove it false; you can't say what they've said is inaccurate, that it's a lie; you can't say any of that. Then somebody would have to say it's true — well, it's not true because it's not the whole truth."
So the criticism that what the Daily Caller is doing is worse than simply lying, because they’re selectively presenting facts to create a false argument (known as “paltering”) in a way that can’t be innocent or unintentional, and in fact is a deliberate lie.
And that’s exactly what Bastasch embraces. It’s how he was taught to do “journalism,” during his fellowship at the Daily Caller with the American Journalism Institute, which has its curriculum online. In “It’s Not Easy Being Green” class, the propagandists-in-training will be treated to “a look at environmental regulations and the well-funded network of environmentalists who champion them. This will include an examination of the Republican-created Environmental Protection Agency, the burgeoning taxpayer-funded green jobs industry, and the consequences of European attempts to “‘green’ their economies.”
You know, just like in real journalism school!
Since his return to lead the Daily Caller, the climate content has taken a turn towards explicit climate disinformation. Gone are the lazy rewrites of AP and other news outlets’ coverage of climate and energy events, and back are the Bastasch-era content of Republican and Koch propaganda and industry talking points, like tobacco lawyer/climate denier Steve Milloy’s prebunked disinfo-op-ed calling Biden “the ultimate energy wrecking ball.”
Someone should send them an email, surely as a very real journalist at an outlet dedicated to serious and ethical reporting, Bastasch will honor their commitment to accuracy and retract it, before the Daily Caller’s very objective fact checkers have to debunk it!
How embarrassing would that be? You know, if any of them were actually journalists or capable of feeling shame!