Is The New York Times’ Ross Douthat a shill for Tea Bagging Sugar Daddy’s, David and and Charles Koch?
In his column today, “Paranoid About Paranoia”, Douthat tries to downplay legitimate concerns about violent Tea Party rhetoric. He attempts to do so by having a professor say the movement is no worse or more paranoid than other movements — particularly liberal ones.
But as the George Mason law professor Ilya Somin has noted, national opinion polls reveal support for numerous far-out or noxious-seeming notions.
In spinning the Tea Party’s inexcusable behavior, it was interesting that Douthat chose to quote a professor from George Mason University. Here is what New York Magazine said about the link between the university and the Tea Party’s secretive billionaire founders:
David and Charles both actively support Republican causes. Charles founded the conservative think tank the Cato Institute. Charles also funds an academic center at George Mason University called the Mercatus Center, founded by a free-market economist named Richard Fink. A 2004 Wall Street Journal article reported that out of 23 government regulations on the Bush administration’s “hit list” that got killed or modified, fourteen had been suggested by Mercatus.
Douthat could presumably have found a professor to help him make his case from hundreds of colleges and universities. Yet, he chose the one major school that is funded to the gills by the Tea Party’s founders.
This could happenstance. Or, maybe I’m just being paranoid, as Douthat might suggest.
But, it does raise legitimate questions about the jounralistic independence of Douthat. Does he work for the Billionaire Brothers — or the New York Times? We will be watching his column closely to see what sources he uses to make his rather flimsy arguments, and to note if his sources present a conflict of interest with the subject matter.
Clearly, quoting professors from what has essentially become Tea Party U., without identifying the funding link to Koch was poor journalism and did a disservice to readers.