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Koch Bros. Get Into Local News Business

Koch Bros. Get Into Local News Business

The revolution won’t be televised and, if the Koch brothers have their way, it won’t even make it into print.

According to a new report by Media Matters For America, the Koch brothers have entered the local news market via the purchase and control of state news Web sites. They are doing this through a front called the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a multimillion-dollar organization whose Websites and affiliates provide free statehouse reporting to local newspapers and other media across the country.

The organization is funded by major conservative donors with deep ties to groups affiliated with the Koch brothers and brags about its ability to fill the void created by state newsroom layoffs. Of course, their presence alone raises a number of warnings for any citizen concerned with accurate and reliable reporting free from political slant.

MMFA examines the role the group played in the defeat in Idaho of a normally non-controversial measure that would have barred children under 18 from commercial tanning beds. According to the report, the Franklin Center’s IdahoReporter.com posted no less than six stories critical of the legislation, already in place in 38 other states.

The IdahoReporter.com failed to qualify for membership into the Capitol Correspondents Association, a professional organization for non-biased news reporting. “I think it’s viewed as something other than a regular news organization,” said Betsy Russell, president of the Capitol Correspondents Association of Idaho and a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review of neighboring Spokane, Wash.”They report on their own organization’s activities and they reveal it, they give more play to stuff their organization is pushing.”

Russell says of IdahoReporter.com: “It was basically a lobbying organization that linked to a news arm. They very plainly don’t qualify and are not going to qualify” as a news organization.

As of today the Franklin Center claims to provide 10 percent of all state government news in the United States, with 55 news sites covering state government in 39 states. That’s a scary amount of influence in local opinion-shaping that is going undisclosed to citizens and illustrates the lengths the Koch brothers and their affiliates are willing to go in their battle to undo our democracy.

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Photo from NS Newsflash via flickr.

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49 comments

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10:49PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

If you want to control the 'unwashed masses' then you have to control the media! Faux Noise aka Fox News is a perfect example of this. Scary this is! Here's a video that will give you something to think about. It is 2 hours so hunker down, but it is well worth looking at if for no other reason than thinking about what is going on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEV5AFFcZ-s&feature=relmfu

Film Synopsis:
THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what's REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream -- uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.

6:58PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

This is worse news than George Bush appartmly going to war in Iraq on a "Biblical" mission.
The reason "these Nazis" don't "leave us alone," A N D, is that that is not what Nazis do.
This is like the spawn of Rupert Murdoch and Carl Rove!

6:24PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

@Charlene R.[I trust that, none other, than our Supreme Court will eventually, regret selling out our elections to the 'highest bidder'.]

Here as in the minds of many is great frustration at the outflows of the citizens united v fec.gov decision. One is also mindful that the rulings of the justices are interpretations of the constitution through whatever rose colored lens of their political philosophies.

That being true there is also the objective understanding that the subject matter they were deliberating over really left them little latitude in their ruling.

The SCOTUS is largely limited to ruling on the constitutionality of matters before them and issuing court orders within the confines of bringing issues back into constitutional compliance.

The FEC.gov exhibited poor craftsmanship in their quest of noble cause in creating definitions in their rule making that did not properly and constitutionally define the non-profit targets they aimed to regulate.

It is the burden of those tasked with law and rule making to do so in a constitutional fashion and part of our government's separation of powers that makes it rightfully so.

5:08PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Let's see, now.
Could OBJECTIVITY play a roll, here?

I trust that, none other, than our Supreme Court will eventually, regret selling out our elections to the 'highest bidder'. The extreme far-righters on the court, can pretend all they want, that they did what was right, but, they know in the heads and hearts(?) that they didn't.
As the public distrust and lack of confidence becomes more evident, their naughty decision will haunt them....... well maybe not, all of them.

4:28PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Carl O. - I couldn't agree more! The Kochs are the biggest danger to democracy this country has ever faced. They are fascists. They are continuing the nastiness started by their father. It will be a good day for this country when they drop dead.

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

4:10PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

There is NO news without a political slant. Bias free news is a MYTH! Reader beware!

4:02PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Ths Crotch (koch) brothers and the gop/tp have become a DISGRACE to the USA and what we should stand for !!!

3:01PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

The Koch suckers propaganda machine takes another major step forward. The Koch Brothers are the two most dangerous men in America. Rush Limbaugh is an uneducated drug crazed irritant at best in comparison. The Koch Brothers with their history of creating false front groups under the umbrella of Americans for Prosperity to deny climate change, end environmntal regualtions etc. have stolen what used to be American democracy. They should be stopped before they and their Republican Tea Party political puppets and their media shills take over our country lock stock and barrel.

2:30PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

A great way to spread prapaganda. So much for demoracy. Leave it to the Kochroach brothers. Why don't they just go out and buy themselves a little island somewhere far away and rule themselves. And leave us alone!!!!!!

2:27PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Koch america. Bad news indeed.

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