Quantcast
Business

Climate-Denying Koch Brothers Back Purchase of Time Magazine

By Andy Rowell

The media company Meredith announced Sunday night that it's buying Time magazine for an estimated $2.8 billion.

"We are creating a premier media company serving nearly 200 million American consumers across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile and social platforms positioned for growth," said Meredith Corporation Chairman and CEO Stephen Lacy.


Buried deep in the press release was where a significant proportion of this money is coming from: "Meredith has also secured $650 million in preferred equity commitment from Koch Equity Development (KED)."

And here's where the alarm bells should start ringing. The KED fund is run by the Koch Brothers, some of the biggest funders of groups promoting climate denial and libertarian causes for the last two decades.

To try to assuage concerns, Meredith's board added the statement that the Koch brothers will not have seats on the company's board or any "influence on Meredith's editorial or managerial operations." John Fahey, Time's chairman, said the sale was in the best interests of the company.

But not everyone believes the spin. You don't invest $650 million for nothing.

Charles Alexander spent 23 working for Time as a reporter, writer and editor—thirteen years working on the environmental beat, including the iconic 1989 cover which had the earth as "Planet of the Year," which stated that "man has reached a point in his evolution where he has the power to affect, for better or worse, the present and future state of the planet."

In the following years, as scientists have increasingly warned about our warming world and the state of the world, the Koch brothers have spent millions denying the problem of climate change.

Writing in The Nation last week, before the deal was formalized, Alexander said, "Can you imagine what it would be like to see your life's work suddenly go down the drain? I can—right now."

Alexander wrote of his "despair" at the deal, as "Koch Industries is a big player in the oil and gas business and whose philanthropy has long funded climate denial."

He added, "If Charles and David Koch gain control of Time, I expect my life's work to be repudiated in the very magazine in which it appeared. The thought is almost too much to bear … it is perverse and dangerous for two billionaires with no commitment to factual truth to be permitted to buy a magazine that has been a voice for reason and use it to further their narrow business interests."

He ended by saying that "my beloved Time, once a soldier for truth, may have fallen casualty to the forces of greed and deception."

And he is right. The Koch brothers are the central funding machine in the climate denial movement. But it is much more: their "dark money" has helped propel Donald Trump into power, and helped manipulate the stories you see and the words you hear. But they do it through others: right wing think tanks or other conservative outlets.

And now they will do it via Time.

Mary Battari, from the Center for Media and Democracy told the Guardian she considered it "a smart move" on Koch's part. "The only way they can convince the public not to worry their heads about climate change and to forget about regulating the fossil fuel industry is to create their own media megaphone."

So nearly thirty years after Time's iconic "Planet of the Year" cover, the magazine could soon be running headlines like: "Exclusive: the world is flat."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Health
Pexels

Natural Remedies: 8 Plants That Promote Wellness

It may seem like natural remedies are having a moment, but the trend is nothing new. Herbalism—the use of plants for their medicinal properties—has been around long before modern-day pharmacies, and certain sprigs and leaves are still touted for their healing powers. Whether you're planning your next natural shopping trip or want to try growing some helpful herbs at home, this overview can help you get started.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Vegetables in Whole Foods Market. Masahiro Ihara / CC BY 2.0

Food's Environmental Impact Varies Greatly Between Producers

By Jason Daley

There's no way around it—everything in the grocery store, from nuts and kale to beef and apples, has an environmental impact. Fertilizer causes water pollution, farm fields can encroach on habitat, and a lot of carbon gets released when food is transported from one place to another. But it turns out not every stalk of broccoli or pound of Gouda has the same ecological footprint. A new study of food systems in the journal Science shows the same items sitting next to each other on the shelf can have radically different impacts.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

GOP Senators Demand Probe of Federal Grants on Climate Change

A group of Republican senators are calling for an investigation of the National Science Foundation (NSF) over a program that "[turns] television meteorologists into climate change evangelists," according to a Wednesday press release from the office of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
pxhere

World's Plastic Waste Problem Now Predicted to Reach 111 Million Metric Tonnes by 2030

Mountains of plastic waste are building up around the globe after China implemented a ban on other countries' trash.

By 2030, an estimated 111 million metric tons of single-use drink bottles, food containers and other plastic junk will be displaced because of China's new policy, according to a new paper from University of Georgia researchers, who cited UN global trade data for their study.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics
Children detained at a facility in McAllen, Texas under Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. U.S. Customs and Border Control

Trump Penalizes Migrants Fleeing Climate Crisis He Ignores

The impacts of climate change do not respect international borders. If they did, it wouldn't be the case that the countries who have done the least to contribute to global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to suffer disproportionately from their effects.

But as climate refugees begin to flee deteriorating conditions, they are already finding that borders very much apply to them.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Indigenous inhabitants of one of the floating islands in Lake Titicaca greet a tour group from Puno, Peru. David Stanley / CC BY 2.0

5 Ways Indigenous Groups Are Fighting Back Against Land Seizures

By Peter Veit

Much of the world's land is occupied and used by Indigenous Peoples and communities—about 50 percent of it, involving more than 2.5 billion people. But these groups are increasingly losing their ancestral lands—their primary source of livelihood, income and social identity.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals

Koko the Gorilla Dead at 46, an 'Icon for Interspecies Communication and Empathy'

Koko, the beloved western lowland gorilla who could communicate with sign language, died at age 46, the Gorilla Foundation announced. She died in her sleep on Tuesday morning in Woodside, California.

"Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy. She was beloved and will be deeply missed," the foundation said in a press release.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
West Palm Beach broadcast meteorologist Jeff Berardelli with the graphic used in Thursday's #MetsUnite campaign. Jeff Berardelli

#MetsUnite to Spread Climate Change Awareness as Heat Wave Season Begins

If you tune in to a TV weather report on today's Northern hemisphere summer solstice, you might notice the meteorologist wearing a unique striped tie or necklace that begins in blue and changes to red.

This isn't just a fun summer style. The design is actually University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkin's "Warming Stripes" visualization, which represents the change in annual global temperatures from 1850 to 2017. Nearly 100 TV meteorologists are displaying it in some way on Thursday as part of Meteorologists United on Climate Change or #MetsUnite, Weather Underground reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!