August 6, 2017

TIME MAGAZINE SLIMES KOCH IN HEADLINE: Time Magazine covered a Charles Koch speech with the headline “Charles Koch says U.S. Can Bomb Its Way to $100,000 Salaries.” Except what he actually said was:

“I think we can have growth rates in excess of 4%. When I’m talking about growth rates, I’m not talking about that GDP, which counts poison gas the same as it counts penicillin,” the 79-year-old industrialist said, veering off his prepared remarks. “What a monstrous measure this is. If we make more bombs, the GDP goes up — particularly if we explode them.”

Time later changed the headline to say “Charles Koch Mocks Common Measure of Prosperity.” Reason points out that the URL still has the telling phrase “charles-koch-bomb-economy/” and goes on to take apart the reporters’ woefully inadequate understanding of basic economics.  This is a classic case of a form of libel (privacy, actually) called “false light”, generally wherein untrue implicationsrather than directly false statements are made. For instance, an article about sex offenders illustrated with a stock photograph of an individual who is not, in fact, a sex offender could give rise to a false light claim, even if the article and photo caption never make the explicit false statement.

If legacy media had spent the last 10 years practicing responsible journalism and less time being party apparatchiks, they might not be in the trouble they’re in.