My headline basically says it all. Posing as the billionaire businessman and conservative-cause-funding David Koch (you may know him from that New Yorker piece), an editor at the Buffalo Beast, an online alt-bi-weekly, yesterday called Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and the two had a long talk (the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got a confirmation from Walker’s office) about the collective bargaining demonstrations in Wisconsin. A conversation that included, among other things: Fake Koch’s suggestion of “planting some troublemakers” in the crowd, which Gov. Walker acknowledged having “thought about;” Fake Koch’s suggestion of bringing a baseball bat to meet with Wisconsin Senate Democrats, to which Gov. Walker replied that he actually has a bat in his office; and, Fake Koch’s invitation to “fly you out to Cali and show you a good time” after Walker has “crushed these bastards,” which Walker said “would be outstanding.”
What inspired the Beast editor, Ian Murphy, to crank call as Koch? Murphy writes that after Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tim Carpenter complained that Gov. Walker wouldn’t return any of the Democrats’ calls, Murphy pondered who perhaps could get through to Gov. Walker and decided that “the obvious candidate was David Koch.” (For more on why Murphy made this conclusion, read this recent Mother Jones report on how Gov. Walker “might not be where he is today without the Koch brothers.”)
This prank is like a gift to the Rachel Maddow Show, which has closely covered the Koch brothers’ growing political influence, as well as recent developments in Wisconsin. Also? During the crank call, Walker says that “sooner or later the media stops finding [the protests] interesting,” to which Fake Koch replies, “not the liberal bastards on MSNBC.”
I guess the Buffalo Beast hasn’t heard: you don’t joke with the Kochs.Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.