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April 23, 2012

JOHN HINDERAKER: Have Our News Organizations Gone Crazy?

I wrote here about MSNBC’s campaign to tie the Koch brothers to George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin. That effort was, it is fair to say, insane, but it apparently inspired one or more liberals to take MSNBC’s theories a step farther. Someone wrote–I think it was on Facebook–that Koch Industries had paid for Zimmerman’s legal defense and/or put up his bail money. Other liberals happily repeated the claim, to the point where Snopes deemed it a rumor worth addressing.

The claim is not only false, but entirely baseless and, in fact, stupid. There is no connection whatsoever between Koch Industries or the Koch brothers and George Zimmerman. None. Further, while the Koch brothers have championed a number of libertarian causes, gun rights have not been among them. In the one instance where Koch Industries is known to have lobbied on a firearms issue, it was against a proposed liberalization of firearms laws in Florida. And the brothers have no history of participating in the defense of criminal defendants. Further, while this is not my area of expertise, I doubt whether it would even be legal for Koch Industries to pay for an unrelated person’s criminal defense. So the assertion that Koch Industries is paying for Zimmerman’s defense or contributing to his bail lacks the remotest shred of plausibility.

That doesn’t matter. The important thing is to give the base someone to hate, and the base isn’t picky about facts. And the base is pretty much their only audience anymore, anyway.

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