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Rupert Murdoch and David Koch Collude Against Wisconsin Workers

While Fox News feeds its rabble the anti-union line, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal columnists front for Koch's Americans for Prosperity and coddle elite investors.
 
 
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In the week-long battle taking place in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights, you'd expect Fox News to be doing what it's done: misreporting the story, mistakenly characterizing a poll supporting public workers to mean its opposite, featuring Glenn Beck painting the protests of union workers as something cooked up by Stalinists. And you might be tempted to think, well, that's just Fox playing to its base of frightened Tea Partiers who prefer a fact-free zone to the more challenging territory of actual news, where the answers are never pat, and the world is a bit more complicated than it seems in the realm of Fox Nation.

You might think it's all about what brings in the advertising dollars for Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox's parent company, News Corporation. But it runs much deeper than that, involving key players at the Wall Street Journal, News Corp.'s crown jewel. The informal partnership between billionaire David Koch, whose campaign dollars and astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity, have fomented the Wisconsin crisis, and billionaire Rupert Murdoch, is profoundly ideological -- the ideology being the exponential enrichment of the two men's heirs, all dressed up in the language of libertarianism and free enterprise. Together with his brother, Charles -- also a big donor to right-wing causes --David Koch runs Koch Industries, the conglomerate that sprang from the oil and gas company founded by his father.

King of the World and Lord of His Majesty's Media

Ginning up the right-wing rabble is a Fox News specialty. Glenn Beck is more than a talk-show host; he's Rupert Murdoch's community organizer. Like Koch, Murdoch embraces a completely deregulatory agenda: one that would leave giant corporations such as News Corp., the second largest entertainment company in the world, according to Fortune magazine, with nary a single regulation to stand in the way of profit-taking. Like Koch, Murdoch has no use for unions, having famously broken the unions of the newspapers he runs in the U.K. Like Koch, Murdoch gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association least year, the only difference being that Koch wrote a personal check for his contribution, while Murdoch's check was written on a News Corp. account.

In AlterNet's coverage of the Kochs and Murdoch over the last two years, we reported how Koch's Americans for Prosperity Foundation synced an annual conference with Glenn Beck's rally last summer at the Lincoln Memorial, offering discounted hotel rooms and bus travel to attendees, as well as day-long shuttle service between the conference hotel and the rally. Perhaps you remember the collusion we reported between Americans for Prosperity and Fox News in creating the furor that pushed Van Jones from the White House. You may recall our report on a 2009 Americans for Prosperity Foundation conference at which one-third of the speakers on a 15-speaker plenary agenda were on the payroll of a Murdoch entity. Two of those speakers, John Fund and Stephen Moore, hail from the Wall Street Journal; Moore sits on the newspaper's editorial board. So it should come as no surprise to find both Fund and Moore carrying Koch's water in this fight.

Together, Fund and Moore play a very particular role in the war to make David Koch king of the world, and Rupert Murdoch his favorite lord. (Murdoch is the lesser of the two billionaires, worth a mere $6 or $7 billion, to Koch's $20-plus billion.) While Fund and Moore talk to those regular folks who find their thrills watching Fox News, they also speak to the elite readers of WSJ, the investors to whom the two sell the notion that what's good for David Koch is good for everybody's bottom line. Writing on the Wall Street Journal Web site last week, Fund offered the standard right-wing rhetoric that paints President Barack Obama in thuggish terms: