Pollution machine Koch Industries is taking to court to defend its reputation as a cesspool of global warming denial. Brad Johnson has the bizarre story.
The right-wing carbon industry giant, owned by Tea Party billionaires David and Charles Koch, has filed a lawsuit in Utah to punish anonymous pranksters who claimed on the company’s behalf that it was discontinuing funding to climate denial front groups.
According to Koch’s lawyers, as a result of the rumor that the company believes in climate science, its “business and reputation were harmed”:
Defendants issued the false press release and set up the fake website with the intent to deceive and confuse the public, to disrupt and harm Plaintiff’s business and reputation, and to draw attention to and funding for Defendants’ activities. . ..
In addition, as a result of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiff’s business and reputation were harmed, and Plaintiff incurred monetary damages, including costs associated with spending time and money to respond to inquiries about the fake press release and Defendants’ other fraudulent activities, investigative and legal expenses associated with determining the host for Defendant’s website and contacting the host to have it taken down, and investigative and legal expenses associated with ascertaining the identity of Defendants.
The lawsuit claims that “the public was deceived and confused because news organizations published the false press release,” even though the few news outlets that wrote about the release identified it as a “spoof” (New York Times blog) or “phony” (The Hill blog).
The spoof release noted that Koch Industries bankrolls denier groups like Americans for Prosperity, Fraser Institute, Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, the Manhattan Institute, and the Marshall Institute, and argued that “best course forward includes a discontinuation of funding for these organizations, and organizations like them, whose positions on climate change could jeopardize America’s continued global competitiveness in the energy and chemical sectors and Koch Industries’ ability to provide high-quality products and services to the American people.”
That statement is, of course, entirely true. The only thing false in the spoof was the recognition by the pollution company of scientific reality.
Update: Gawker suggests Koch Industries is behind a character-assassination campaign against New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, who wrote a devastating expos© of David Koch’s toxic influence.