Democracy Now reporter Amy Goodman found herself up against a human wall when she tried to ask millionaire Republican booster David Koch one question: Does concentration of wealth undermine democracy?
In an encounter she aired Friday morning, Goodman recounted her experience trying to speak to Koch Thursday evening, who she said is spending around $400 million dollars through Republican-boosting groups in this year’s presidential campaign. Koch, a member of the New York state delegation to the Republican National Convention, had been honored earlier that day by a non-profit he backs, Americans for Prosperity.
As Goodman attempts to ask Koch the question, a man stands up to block her and another tells her, “We’re not doing interviews.” Koch can be heard telling her, “I couldn’t quite hear you. Sorry, I’m deaf in one ear.”
Earlier this week, the notoriously reclusive Koch was photographed during dinner, prompting a woman who identified herself as a Koch public relations employee to gain assurances from reporters they wouldn’t use the photo to attract their “Occupy friends” to the location.
Koch also told Politico this week that he disagrees with the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage and believes the U.S. might need to raise taxes to balance the budget.
After Koch didn’t answer Goodman’s question, New York state Republican party chair Ed Cox stepped in instead.
“What we need is a country led by Mitt Romney with the vision of an opportunist society of free people and free enterprise,” he said. “That’s what made this country great, and that’s what he’s gonna do and that’s his vision.”
When Goodman asked how young people should feel about the increasing concentration of wealthy influence around the political process, Cox dismissed her premise.
“That’s a statement that isn’t true,” Cox said. “This country is governed by the people. That’s what it’s always been based on.”
At that point, Goodman is repeatedly asked to leave the area. At one point, Koch can be seen cupping his ear and laughing.
Later, Goodman said these kinds of encounters happen all the time around Koch.
“These are supposed to be celebrations of democracy, these conventions,” she said. “There’s a reason why both [political] conventions welcome 15,000 journalists – they want to get their message out. We are not supposed to be simply stenographers to power. We are there to ask serious questions and to follow the money.”
Goodman’s attempt to interview Koch, posted Friday morning, starts at the 85:27 mark and can be seen below.