In a speech on June 16, New York Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson tried to justify the paper’s biased and obsessive coverage of Koch with a comparison to the Nixon administration that was divorced from reality and unhinged from the facts. Speaking from prepared remarks to a trade group, Abramson said, “I’m tremendously proud of the enterprise stories we’ve done [because] the Koch brothers may be the most important behind-the-scenes players in this election, especially considering Watergate history, an environment where there are giant, secret campaign contributions is ripe for even more investigations.”
Abramson’s analogy is false, misleading, and ludicrous in several respects. Every contribution to a state or federal political campaign made by Koch or any other person or group must be disclosed to the government and publicly catalogued. Indeed, Koch scrupulously complies with all disclosure requirements, which the New York Times and other partisan media have used as a way to harass and attack us in the past.
There have been many commentators over the past few years who have blurred the distinction between constitutionally protected speech and campaign contributions. Considering that the Times has written more than 100 articles in the last year mentioning Koch, it’s surprising that Ms. Abramson is still confused about the distinction.
There’s little doubt, however, that Ms. Abramson differs with our long-held and publicly expressed views concerning economic freedom, individual liberty, and limited government, and journalism integrity. After all why single out Koch and not the many progressive advocacy groups that advocate concerning public policy issues using the same lawful approaches that Koch does? But to liken our efforts to Watergate, with no basis other than her own imagination, is yet another malicious and irresponsible attack by Ms. Abramson and her newspaper against Koch for exercising its First Amendment rights of free expression.