Stewart Claims Koch Brothers Have An 'Elitist View' Disguised As 'Freedom Agenda'

On June 17, John Stewart invited Daniel Schulman, senior editor of left-wing Mother Jones magazine, onto The Daily Show to discuss his newest book, Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty. The liberal Comedy Central host couldn’t end the interview without making his own political opinion of the famous libertarian donors clear, stating, “it is almost at its core, its such an elitist view but portrayed as a freedom agenda.”

Schulman, who is pitching his book as nonideological on the book tour circuit agreed that since the brothers “have not experienced a single solitary moment of financial insecurity in their lives” they are “the worst poster boys” for debates on say the minimum wage or welfare reform. (See video below. Click here for MP3 audio)

Beyond Stewart claiming that the Koch economic agenda has “supplanted whatever the Republican economic agenda was anyway,” it is important to note Stewart’s disdain for these conservative/libertarian “elites” who, as Schulman describes, “don't know what it's like to live on $2 day when they're making $2 million an hour.”

That’s rich coming from the highest-paid television host of 2013 who rakes in between $25 and $30 million a year.

See transcript below:

Comedy Central
The Daily Show
June 17, 2014
11:26 p.m. Eastern
2 minute and 42 seconds

JON STEWART: So is this really all just economic interests? Is it purely... Because in the, really more pure libertarian, they're straight up and down, you know, for pro-freedom agenda, but these guys only spend their money on economic issues.

DANIEL SCHULMAN: I think these guys are genuine in their beliefs, but clearly they're looking out for their economic interests.

STEWART: I wonder, because their economic agenda seems to have supplanted whatever the Republican economic agenda was anyway. They're really aligned on that regard.

SCHULMAN: Yeah, absolutely. And I'm not even sure the Republicans are quite... You know, Charles Koch's ideal government is really no government. Very little.

STEWART: Somalia.

SCHULMAN: If you talk to his libertarian allies from the '70's, they'll say he was what they called an anarchical capitalist, that means he believes that private individuals can handle almost every function of society basically eliminating the need for government. Now, that is not where we live right now. You know, there is so much public investment in infrastructure, that sort of stuff. That's not the U.S.

STEWART: I love that because it is almost at its core, it's such an elitist view but portrayed as a freedom agenda. Because it really is like the people what hold the most money control the entire agenda. It's almost anti-democratic in a way.

SCHULMAN: In some ways these guys are probably the worst poster boys for, you know Charles Koch is against the minimum wage and that want to get rid of the welfare state, but obviously they have not experienced a single solitary moment of financial insecurity in their lives. They don't know what it's like to live on $2 day when they're making $2 million an hour.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.