Melissa Harris-Perry | March 17, 2013
>>> we are moving on now to talk politics and poker. because you see playing poker, especially political poker can be quite a gamble. take charles and david coke . they played a major role in the 2011 election and lost a big hand. just because the chips are down doesn't mean the billionaires are about to fold. charles coke discovered the next development. as a company, we are committed to doing what is right in every aspect of our business. we will persuade what is good for the politicians to do what is good first. it appears the koch brothers are not bluffing. they are going all in, and they may be raising the stakes in another way. on tuesday, " l.a. weekly " said the koch brothers may put in for the paper. that includes "the los angeles times " and "the chicago tribune " and "ballot sun" along with others. they could face tough competition along from rupert murdoch . if they wanted the papers, they have the bank roll to make it happen. in typical koch fashion, they have neither confirmed or denied the rumor. in this case, the koch brothers are the house. if they choose to continue persuading politicians, they may improve their already formidable hand. at the table is the lead writer to "the nation" magazine. we have the associate professor at law as well as aaron lewis and staying with us is former democratic congress member is patrick murphy . i have to go to you first. we are talking about the political gamble in which the kochs already played. they did not do well in the last weather. they hoped to unseat president barack obama . what keeps them moving forward?
>> if you look at what they are doing to try to buy the policy debate as opposed to the candidates, there is no policy that they did not frame the question. there is a danger in thinking about them as ideologues. they are trying to consolidate power. this is a ideology trying to serve their power. they are trying to increase how much money and control they have over society.
>> lee, if we look at it that way, the ultimate would be the white house . are the koch brothers after shaping the society more to their liking and having the conservative policy?
>> the koch brothers are unique among many billionaires. their philanthropy headquarters has the guy who is in charge of handing out the grants. it is difficult to divorce the two when the heritage foundation is pushing global warming or trying to attack the epa. it comes back to the same similar agenda.
>> i do get the sense they are trying to infultrate the mind system. if they have the university systems, doesn't that give you the sense they want more than the pieces in washington? they want the whole country to shift in their direction?
>> they do, joy. they are doubling down. it is a grasp of power. you look on the democratic side. a great think tank, the heritage, which is our competitor, is three times the size of cap and all of these other branches. they are putting their money where their policies are. that is outsourcing american jobs and starting unnecessary wars. we can't afford that as a country. it is bad policy and bad politics. it will hurt the average american family.
>> the question i have is whether or not they actually win elections with their money, haven't the kochs won election? we are not talking poverty or jobs. we are talking about tax cuts and tax policy and debt. that's where they want to be.
>> i don't know if i would give them that much credit for the change in the debate. i would date that back to 1980 when ronald reagan came to the floor. the money is like jet fuel . on the other hand, they are having fist fights outside the cockpit over who should be flying the plane and they don't know where they want to go necessarily. i don't know if we should be prepared to acknowledge that there will be a total takeover. you worked at newspapers and i worked at newspapers. you can work at a newspaper and change the editorial page . it is hard to herd the rest of the cats. the reporters out to serve an audience expecting traffic and weather and news and really what happened at city hall . i would say it is probably too early to panic. rupert murdoch once owned "the village voice ."
>> right. a lot of people are giving a sideout to "the wall street journal ."
>> the guy's a wealthy developer in san diego and bought "the tribune." he took the editorials that were partisan and they looked like news.
>> the kochs are not the only ones in the game. you have the bradley foundation . the kochs are the public face of this. there is a lot of money on this issue on the right.
>> you have a supreme court who has a fetishistic relationship with the first amendment. what you see in the past few years is the koch brothers repeatedly buying up properties that get the special protection. they are going into universities and lobbying. they are going into political speech. now, this is sort of the foray into the press which is most protected.
>> two points with zephyr's comments. it goes back to errol's point. they are playing a different game. they are playing in state legislatures and beyond. when you have a redistricting fight like in pennsylvania, where there are more americans that vote for the democrats for the house of representatives , the republicans still have control of 22 more seats. they still have the power in the house. that is why we have john boehner who is not place very nicely with president obama . although president obama is doing his best.
>> i want to make one quick point about the university topic. a lot of wealthy corporations and funds fund private endow chairs. koch is unique that it came out recently they are giving to florida state university . they say you accept our money and we approve the type of research and who is hired at the school. again, this goes back to the foundation, which is trans connected with the lobbying office.
>> what happens then, you have that leading to global warming . the science department is leading to the kochs direction. they can actually have an affect on academia where you are not doing a deal on the newspaper. they are shaping the debate and shaping what students are learning.
>>> up next, new york's mayor is soon out of a job, but he is being clear he is not going anywhere. he is going national.
>>> a hearty congratulations to our own melissa harris-perry and nerdland crew at the last night glaad media awards here. mhp won in the category of outstanding journalism news segment and this segment. melissa has made a point of using her voice to push for the equality of all and we are proud of the acknowledgment she has received. go melissa ! more after the break. my