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Friday, June 16, 2023

Conor Friedersdorf ~ Koch man AND Thiel man 💲💲💲💲💲

I've noted before that Conor Friedersdorf is a wingnut welfare recipient, spouting right-wing talking points while funded by Charles Koch.

But there's no law against taking money from more than one right-wing plutocrat at a time, and it looks like Friedersdorf has decided to throw himself in with the blatantly racist Quillette. It was credibly claimed that Quillette has taken money from Peter Thiel.


And speaking of double-dipping - from the beginning I suspected that Koch was in the financial mix for Quillette - and not just because so many Quillette authors were also taking money from Koch organizations.

So it's not just the Donors Trust-funded white supremacist American Renaissance reprinting Quillette articles.

Fun fact: Peter Thiel also contributes to Donors Trust.


I wrote to Friedersdorf about this, not expecting a reply, but I got one:


Are you under the impression that you get paid to go on the Quilette podcast? You do not. Nor do I make any money from the Koch brothers, one of whom is dead. 

I am paid by The Atlantic and by the Best of Journalism newsletter that I started. 

Thanks for writing, I'm glad to be able to correct your inaccurate impression.




So here I thought Conor Friedersdorf was offered too much money to refuse, but it turns out he's so unconcerned about Quillette's promotion of race pseudoscience that he's willing to do a Quillette podcast for free. I guess my suspicion that he agreed with Pinker was correct.

And I assume what he meant to say was that he was not taking money from Charles Koch anymore, since according to the American Prospect:

It's not just the IDW itself: Some of its key popularizers also get Koch funding. Bari Weiss and The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf—who has been one of the most visible defenders of Peterson in the mainstream media—have both received cash prizes from the Koch-funded Reason Foundation, where David Koch himself sits on the board of trustees. And remember “The Coddling of the American Mind”? Well, one of its co-authors, Greg Lukianoff, is the head of that campus free-speech watchdog, FIRE. That organization is funded, of course, by the Koch brothers (for good measure, the Charles Koch Institute also did a laudatory write-up of the piece).

The Atlantic is perhaps the worst offender. Last year it launched “The Speech Wars,” a reporting project that seeks “to understand where free speech is in danger and where it has been abused.” Even though the magazine had just been bought by billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs and was seeing all-time high circulation and web traffic, The Atlantic solicited funding for the project from none other than the Charles Koch Foundation (the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Fetzer Institute are also underwriters).

I never used the term "Koch brothers" in my email to Friedersdorf. I wrote about David Koch's death back in 2019.

And as far as Friedersdorf's "Best of Journalism" newsletter - it's on Substack and I have my suspicions about that platform.

But I guess Friedersdorf is right, my impression was inaccurate - I had thought he was a financial opportunist, but now my impression is that he is a true believer in race pseudoscience.

And looky here - Trump's would-be enabler Damon Linker, "senior fellow in the Open Society Project at the Niskanen Center," is working for Quillette. I assume Quillette pays for articles, if not for podcasts.

Quillette was once considered an IDW publication, but it appears to be rapidly becoming the  publication of the American right. 

Another indication - besides the Donors Trust thing - how comfortable the American right and faux centrists are with race pseudoscience. 

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