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Koch Network Funding Of US Conservative Disinformation Campaign On “Critical Race Theory”

August 26th, 2021 14:24

An orga­ni­za­tion called “Unkoch My Cam­pus” has said that it has uncov­ered ties between the Koch fam­i­ly and 28 con­ser­v­a­tive think tanks and polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions who pub­lished exten­sive mate­r­i­al on so-called Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry. Accord­ing to an arti­cle in The Nation:

August 13, 2021 Unkoch My Cam­pus reviewed the pub­lished mate­ri­als of 28 con­ser­v­a­tive think tanks and polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions with known ties to the Koch net­work from June 2020 to June 2021 and found that they had col­lec­tive­ly pub­lished 79 arti­cles, pod­casts, reports or videos about Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry. These arti­cles came out in a trick­le last year, but then sud­den­ly became a flood start­ing in Feb­ru­ary 2021, as Pres­i­dent Biden took office and the threat to cor­po­rate prof­its became real. An aver­age of five pieces per week dropped from late March to June 30, 2021. The pace of pro­pa­gan­da surged in both late May and late June—coinciding with the surge in action by state politi­cians. Both the high­ly influ­en­tial Her­itage Foun­da­tion and the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil, which has known ties to the Kochs and a long his­to­ry of dri­ving con­ser­v­a­tive state leg­is­la­tion, held webi­na­rs devot­ed to attack­ing CRT. The Man­hat­tan Insti­tute for Pol­i­cy Research alone devot­ed 43 sep­a­rate arti­cles or videos to the topic.

Read the rest here.

For a full report, go here.

Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry is defined by a US edu­ca­tion­al pub­li­ca­tions as follows:

Crit­i­cal race the­o­ry is an aca­d­e­m­ic con­cept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that racism is a social con­struct, and that it is not mere­ly the prod­uct of indi­vid­ual bias or prej­u­dice, but also some­thing embed­ded in legal sys­tems and poli­cies. The basic tenets of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry, or CRT, emerged out of a frame­work for legal analy­sis in the late 1970s and ear­ly 1980s cre­at­ed by legal schol­ars Der­rick Bell, Kim­ber­lé Cren­shaw, and Richard Del­ga­do, among oth­ers. A good exam­ple is when, in the 1930s, gov­ern­ment offi­cials lit­er­al­ly drew lines around areas deemed poor finan­cial risks, often explic­it­ly due to the racial com­po­si­tion of inhab­i­tants. Banks sub­se­quent­ly refused to offer mort­gages to Black peo­ple in those areas.

How­ev­er, as the Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed in March, Christo­pher Rufo, a well-known con­ser­v­a­tive activist in the US had tweet­ed that his goal was to use CRT as a catchall con­cept “to annex the entire range of cul­tur­al con­struc­tions that are unpop­u­lar with Amer­i­cans. The appar­ent dis­in­for­ma­tion effort appears to have wild­ly suc­ceed­ed. As NBC News has observed:

Con­flicts like this are play­ing out in cities and towns across the coun­try, amid the rise of at least 165 local and nation­al groups that aim to dis­rupt lessons on race and gen­der, accord­ing to an NBC News analy­sis of media reports and orga­ni­za­tions’ pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als. Rein­forced by con­ser­v­a­tive think tanks, law firms and activist par­ents, these groups have found allies in fam­i­lies frus­trat­ed over Covid-19 restric­tions in schools and have weaponized the right’s oppo­si­tion to crit­i­cal race the­o­ry, turn­ing it into a polit­i­cal ral­ly­ing point. While the efforts vary, they share strate­gies of dis­rup­tion, pub­lic­i­ty and mobi­liza­tion. The groups swarm school board meet­ings, inun­date dis­tricts with time-con­sum­ing pub­lic records requests and file law­suits and fed­er­al com­plaints alleg­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion against white stu­dents. They have become media dar­lings in con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles and made the debate over crit­i­cal race the­o­ry a nation­al issue.

In June, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed on a like­ly Repub­li­can Par­ty dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign in the form of a new orga­ni­za­tion that announced that it had launched with an ini­tial “ini­tial sev­en-fig­ure nation­al ad cam­paign of well over $1 mil­lion” to com­bat what it describes as polit­i­cal influ­ence in US schools.

The GIOR has also been report­ing on Russ­ian efforts to cap­i­tal­ize on the con­tro­ver­sy over CRT.

Accord­ing to a well-ref­er­enced Wikipedia arti­cle on the Koch Family:

The Koch fam­i­ly (/koʊk/ KOHK) is an Amer­i­can fam­i­ly engaged in busi­ness, best known for their polit­i­cal activ­i­ties (active role in oppos­ing cli­mate change leg­is­la­tion, donat­ing to lib­er­tar­i­an, crim­i­nal jus­tice reform, and Repub­li­can Par­ty caus­es) and their con­trol of Koch Indus­tries, the largest pri­vate­ly owned com­pa­ny in the Unit­ed States (with 2019 rev­enues of $115 bil­lion). The fam­i­ly busi­ness was start­ed by Fred C. Koch, who devel­oped a new crack­ing method for the refine­ment of heavy crude oil into gaso­line. Fred’s four sons lit­i­gat­ed against each oth­er over their inter­ests in the busi­ness dur­ing the 1980s and 1990s. By 2019, Charles Koch and David Koch, com­mon­ly referred to as the Koch broth­ers, were the only ones of Fred Koch’s four sons still with Koch Industries.Charles and David Koch built a polit­i­cal net­work of lib­er­tar­i­an and con­ser­v­a­tive donors and the broth­ers fun­neled finan­cial rev­enue into tele­vi­sion and mul­ti-media adver­tis­ing. David Koch died in August 2019.