DeSmog: Koch Funding for Black Students is Racist
By Aly Nielsen
DeSmog Blog is up in arms over Koch-funded Scholarships, but sees no problem with its own liberal agenda and donors.
DeSmogBlog writer Sharon Kelly suggested the Koch brothers were hypocritical and racist for funding private grants and giving to colleges while opposing Federal student loan programs in a Feb. 15 article.
Kelly found an anti-Koch organizer condemning Koch donations for having “strings attached,” but made sure not to address DeSmog Blog’s own far-left bias and its funding from left-wing foundations. Kelly herself is a former ACLU law clerk.
The headline of Kelly’s article showed disdain and alleged racism: “Fueling Us Forward Presents Scholarships to Black Youth in North Carolina, Recalling Kochs’ Troubling History on Education and Race.”
The rant stemmed from three, $1,500 grants from Fueling U.S. Forward, a Koch-funded nonprofit “dedicated to educating the public about the values and potential of American energy.” Those grants encouraged African American students to “pursue careers in the energy industry.”
According to Kelly, the Koch brothers have repeatedly “sparked controversy” through their educational grants. She also criticized their $25 million donation to the United Negro College Fund in 2014 because the Kochs were still “continuing their other efforts to slash federal programs” and found a critic of a $25.6 million gift to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
“The strings attached to that [Thurgood Marshall College Fund] gift have students worried,” Kelly said, summarizing objections made by UnKoch My Campus co-founder Ralph Wilson.
Black students need the federal programs the Koch brothers oppose because the programs are what “built the black middle class,” according to University of Pennsylvania Professor Marybeth Gasman.
Kelly also cited Eddie Bautista, the executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, who told The New York Times the Fueling U.S. Forward campaign was “exploitive, sad and borderline racist.”
In spite of the Koch brothers’ current pursuit of criminal justice reform, Kelly insisted “The Koch family itself has a long and troubling track record on race.”
DeSmog Blog has a longstanding opposition to the Koch brothers. Both Koch Industries and the Koch Family Foundation are listed in DeSmog’s “Disinformation Database.” The lefty group also launched a stand-alone website called Koch vs Clean in August 2016. The website “seeks to expose the individuals, organizations and tactics” behind “attacks on Clean Energy.”
Following President Donald Trump’s election, DeSmog published an interactive graphic claiming “The Trump Administration is Filling Up With Koch Allies.”
Liberal public relations expert James Hogan founded DeSmog in January 2006. Since then it has also been funded by foundations including the Grantham Foundation, the Marisla Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Wallace Global Fund.