As Twitchy reported yesterday, John Hinderaker of Powerline did a pretty thorough debunking of a Washington Post story by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin claiming that the Koch brothers are the largest lease holders in Canada’s oil sands and stand to profit from the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Post was stung enough by Hinderaker’s criticism to publish a second piece, “Why we wrote about the Koch Industries and its leases in Canada’s oil sands.” Why? Because “the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year.”

That didn’t sound like a correction, and today Hinderaker posted his response to the Post’s response. It’s well worth reading the whole thing, but here are some highlights.

And yet, a still deeper level of corruption is on display here. Juliet Eilperin is a reporter for the Washington Post who covers, among other things, environmental politics. As I wrote in my prior post, she is married to Andrew Light. Light writes on climate policy for the Center for American Progress, a far-left organization that has carried on a years-long vendetta against Charles and David Koch on its web site, Think Progress. Light is also a member of the Obama administration, as Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy on Climate Change in the Department of State.

Oh, yes–one more thing. Guess who sits on the board of the Center for American Progress? Yup. Tom Steyer.

Who’s Tom Steyer? Hinderaker writes that he’s “one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party and its candidates. This year, he has pledged to contribute $100 million to the campaigns of Democratic candidates, as long as they toe the line on environmental issues–which includes, presumably, taxpayer support for ‘green’ energy and opposition to Keystone.”

Post-on-Post action? That’s right; attorney Jonathan Adler also tackled the oil sands story on the Post’s own legal blog, the Volokh Conspiracy.

Perhaps it is true that the Kochs really are the largest lease holder, and really own close to 2 million acres, but Eilperin and Mufson aren’t willing to stand behind this claim. Their original charge was based upon the Kochs owning 1.1 million acres, and yet others own more (as they now acknowledge).  As in the original story, the follow-up cites unnamed “industry sources we consider highly authoritative” claiming that the Koch holdings are larger, but there’s a big difference between saying the Koch brothers are the largest lease holder and saying that they might be if the unconfirmed claims of unnamed sources about some indeterminate amount of additional lease holdings are accurate. If the larger number can be substantiated, then let’s see it. If not, and if Mufson and Eilperin are no longer willing to attest that the Kochs are the largest lease holder in the oil sands, then it seems a true correction is in order.

Hinderaker concludes his response by writing, “However bad you think the corruption and cronyism in Washington are, they are worse than you imagine. And if you think the Washington Post is part of a free and independent press, think again.”


Brit Hume sums up the situation nicely.