The Washington Post was forced to issue a major correction over an editorial accusing the Charles Koch Foundation of having improper influence over the faculty of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, seemingly because its editorial board blindly took the tip from far-left Marxist activists.
The May 6 editorial in question, “The Charles Koch Foundation paid to pull strings at George Mason. It’s time for transparency,” originally stated that an agreement between the Charles Koch Foundation and GMU gave the charity influence over which professors received promotion or a tenured positions.
Since publication, WaPo ran the following “clarification” at the top of the piece:
“In agreements with George Mason University, the Charles Koch Foundation could name members of a selection committee whose appointees could also serve on an advisory board that had the power to recommend dismissal from the school’s Mercatus Center, but had no power over faculty retention or promotion. This version has been updated.”
The error seems to have stemmed from a tip from the activist organization UnKoch My Campus that seeks to eliminate “undue donor influence in academia.” WaPo cites a Freedom of Information Act request from the group that shows how “the Koch Foundation enjoyed the right to name members of a selection committee that could recommend appointment of professors at the school’s Mercatus Center for free-market research. Those appointees could also serve on an advisory board that had the power to recommend faculty dismissals from the Mercatus Center.”
Perhaps WaPo would have been better served if it did some research on the individuals behind UnKoch My Campus. According to photos seen by The Daily Caller News Foundation, the group’s co-founder, Ralph Wilson, has been seen at a number of far left-wing protests — including one allegedly supporting Kim Jong Un in 2013. That image can be seen below:
Wilson has also been seen beating a drum at an Occupy Wall Street rally side-by-side with a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a Maoist communist group.
To be clear, merely being a radical doesn’t prevent an individual from having insights into a seemingly crooked system. Where WaPo erred was that it seemingly took the tip from a radical organization without the necessary healthy skepticism.
As a consequence, its editorial board took another hit to its credibility.
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