Jon Stewart just took on the fact that the Koch brothers–the billionaire Tea Party supporters and behind-the-scenes political puppeteers–are advertising on The Daily Show. Stewart regularly pillories the Koch brothers and many of the causes they support. So the Kochs bought time–they can buy anything–to say their piece to Stewart’s left-leaning audience.
The Kochs run one of the largest privately held companies in America and the Koch ad presents that company as being integral to the country’s success. The ad begins: “Koch Industries. Started in the heartland. We help make better food, clothing, shelter, technologies, and other necessities.” Stewart noted that the Kochs are “trying to say to our audience of not-yet-dying-off voters: ‘Even though you may have heard certain things about the Koch brothers, how bad could they be?’” And of course The Daily Show presents its own version of the ad –“We’re Koch Industries. Not just an energy company; we’re in your food, in your pants, and in your home.” The Kochs will have seen that coming. Are the Kochs naive in thinking the can convert loyal Stewart fans, or are they wisely getting Stewart’s satire to work for them? Either way, by buying the ads, the Koch brothers are now indirectly paying some of Jon Stewart’s $25 million annual salary.