The Brothers Koch improved their standing in Forbes’ lisiting of the world’s billionaires by increasing their wealth by $9 billion each in the last year. That increase catapulted them from a tie at 12th place to a tie for sixth richest in the world, fourth in the U.S.
Charles and David Koch are worth $34 billion each. Their fortunes were originally made by their father in coal and oil, and Koch Industries continues to profit from dirty energy and chemicals. No surprise, then, that the Kochs are climate-change deniers. David, the younger of the two, shrewdly invests in philanthropy in addition to his many other interests. Lincoln Center and the New York-Prebyterian Hospital are among the beneficiaries, and so is WNET, the New York outlet of public television.
PBS planned to air a documentary featuring a candid and not always flattering portrait of David Koch, “the right-wing oil tycoon.” Government support of public broadcasting is now down to 12 percent, and local stations rely almost exclusively on gifts for their funding, so the $23 million contributed by David is far from inconsequential. Jane Meyer’s outstanding reporting traces the steps and the reasons that led to David Koch’s resignation from the board of WNET, notwithstanding the abrupt cancellation of the film in a futile attempt to placate the sensitive billionaire.
Watch Robert Greenwald’s “Koch Brothers Exposed” for another critical scrutiny, one that David Koch’s media influence can’t quash:
Hat tip: Juan Cole