Why does telling your side of a story get branded as retaliation?

CRE has been a long time advocate of using Interactive Public Dockets (IPD’s) to vent regulatory and public policy issues.  To date IPD’s have been used primarily by watchdog groups such as CRE and  the media.

Koch Facts  is, if not the first then one of the first, users of an IPD by a corporate entity. For this reason CRE will be reporting on events surrounding its implementation and acceptance.  In doing so CRE will periodically report on whether the respective posts on an IPD, or about an IPD, are compliant with the Data Quality Act (DQA).

We have difficulty in appreciating the basis for labeling a response to the views of another as retaliation.

Regarding the DQA,  CRE believes that press releases issued  by federal agencies are subject to the DQA; to this end CRE has just filed an amicus brief  in litigation on the issue in the Ninth Circuit.

Those of  you who are interested in joining our effort to have press releases issued by federal agencies  be compliant with the DQA should contact Jim Tozzi, tozzi@thecre.com, for additional information. 202.265.2383

The aforementioned issue is increasing in signifcance because on occasion agencies “regulate by press release'” in that they can recapture what they lost in the rulemaking process.

The following article was published in the  Grist.

 Here’s how the Koch brothers retaliate against journalists they don’t like

By Lisa Hymas

Beware of Koch-fueled vendettas.

The right-wing, oil-baron Koch brothers haven’t yet succeeded in taking over any of our nation’s major newspapers, so in the meantime they’re trying other tactics to influence news coverage of their activities. The Washington Post has a chilling report:

When environmental journalist David Sassoon began reporting about the billionaire Koch brothers’ interests in the Canadian oil industry last year, he sought information from their privately held conglomerate, Koch Industries. The brothers, who have gained prominence in recent years as supporters of and donors to conservative causes and candidates, weren’t playing. Despite Sassoon’s repeated requests, Koch Industries declined to respond to him or his news site, InsideClimate News.

But Sassoon, who also serves as publisher of the Pulitzer Prize-winning site, heard from the Kochs after his story was posted.

In a rebuttal posted on its Web site, KochFacts.com, the company asserted that Sassoon’s story “deceives readers” by suggesting that Koch Industries stood to benefit from construction of the Keystone XL pipeline — a denial Sassoon included in his story. KochFacts went on to dismiss Sassoon as a “professional eco-activist” and an “agenda-driven activist.”

It didn’t stop there. The company took out ads on Facebook and via Google featuring a photo of Sassoon with the headline, “David Sassoon’s Deceptions.” The ad’s copy read, “Activist/owner of InsideClimate News misleads readers and asserts outright falsehoods about Koch. Get the full facts on KochFacts.com.”

Such aggressive tactics have become part of the playbook for Koch Industries and its owners, Charles and David Koch. Faced with news articles they consider flawed or biased, the brothers and their lieutenants don’t just send strongly worded letters to the editor in protest. Instead, the company takes the offensive, with detailed responses that oscillate between correcting, shaming and slamming journalists who’ve written unflattering stories about the company or the Kochs’ myriad political and philanthropic activities.

This effort parallels the Koch Brothers’ other plan to silence critics — buying them out. The Kochs are in the process of bidding on the Tribune Company which publishes the Chicago Tribune, LA Times, and other media properties. That comes after it was revealed that the Koch Brothers were receiving favorable treatment by PBS due to their generous contributions.

The Koch brothers may soon have a fully integrated system — politicians, policy planners, protesters and the press. Who would dare stand against such a war machine? Who could? The Kochs are proving once again that America is the best democracy money can buy.

Lisa Hymas is senior editor at Grist. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.


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