Tuesday, 31 August 2010

No factual errors?

The New York Times needs some better fact checkers too:
The New Yorker article stirred up the right, too. Some of Mayer’s blogging detractors unwittingly upheld the premise of her article (titled “Covert Operations”) by conceding that they have been Koch grantees. None of them found any factual errors in her 10,000 words. Many of them tried to change the subject to George Soros, the billionaire backer of liberal causes. But Soros is a publicity hound who is transparent about where he shovels his money. And like many liberals — selflessly or foolishly, depending on your point of view — he supports causes that are unrelated to his business interests and that, if anything, raise his taxes.
The New Yorker thought that "Kochtipus" was a term coined in the Obama administration. Here's the New Yorker:
Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.
The term was first used in the 1970s.
In the late 1970s, the Koch largess, and the concentrated strategy that was apparently behind its distribution, led to condemnation (mostly from people not getting any of it) of what Sam Konkin dubbed "the Kochtopus" -- a supposedly strangling, controlling monster of multiple limbs.

Brian Doherty, "Radicals for Capitalism", p. 410.
Yup. No factual errors there at all. And this one is dead simple to spot for anybody who knows anything about American libertarianism. The New Yorker's Jane Mayer clearly doesn't.


  1. How is this an effor? Mayer is claiming that many Washington insiders in 2010 use the term "Kochtopus" to describe the political network established by the Koch brothers. It doesn't matter at all that, decades ago, the term was coined by a disaffected libertarian. Who cares? Words often develop new resonances over *decades* of use. No mistake has been exposed here. This is totally illogical.

  2. The term was in common use in 2000 when I was a grad student. Everybody knew it. She's framing it as though it's some new anti-Obama thing, which is clearly wrong.