The Koch Brothers, some of American's best-known and often politically controversial billionaires, are no less often in the cross-hairs of the media.
Usually, their propensity to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for Republican causes during each election campaign puts them in the bad graces of what Fox News star anchor Tucker Carlson calls “the left.” Carlson reacted to the news that Charles and David Koch were teaming up with the Anti Defamation-League (ADL) – and a host of others – “to censor the internet.”
“Remarkably, they've now joined the leftwing campaign against free speech. Next month, the Charles Koch Institute will be holding a summit with the Anti-Defamation League and executives from major tech companies, including Pinterest, AirBNB, Patreon, and Mozilla. The stated purpose of the meeting is to formulate, quote: “best practices on the fight against hate and extremism online.” You know exactly what that really means: censorship of your views. For the left, fighting “extremism” always entails crushing normal conservatives. That's why Pinterest has censored Live Action. It's why Patreon banned Milo Yiannopoulos. It's why Mozilla drove out Brendan Eich for donating to the wrong political campaign. Big tech has become a far bigger threat to your freedom than government is. The Kochs don't care. Noting Google does violates libertarian orthodoxy.”
And while Carlson praises the Kochs as intellectuals who want to change the world – presumably, for the better – he also mentions their funding efforts on behalf of the Republicans, and how that has led to the media like the New York Times “repeatedly and grotesquely maligning them.”
But, that can also be worn as a badge of honor, the conservative commentator and anchor observes.
However, ideological times may have changed for the two billionaire brothers, Carlson continued, and with some of their latest moves, their link to the conservative movement and causes may be more tenuous than ever.
Their influence increasingly distances them from the Republican Party, from its own voters and supporters on many important issues.
One of them is now free online speech. We recently reported about a gathering planned for July that will bring together Charles Koch's Institute, that of fellow billionaire George Soros, the ADL, and several tech companies, such as Pinterest, AirBNB, Patreon, and Mozilla.
Each of these companies have been known to be fans of deplatforming and appear to be anything but sympathetic towards the conservative point of view. The conference's mission statement – finding the best ways to fight online extremism and hate speech – has often proven to be code for ideologically-motivated censorship.
Carlson calls on Republicans to consider that the Kochs may be “running” their party while apparently not sharing its policies.
He also asks liberals to take pause and wonder “why the Koch boogieman and the rest of the billionaire class are now on their side.”