If there was ever any doubt that politically conservative culture critic Terry Teachout is full of shit, his latest article for The Wall Street Journal should settle the matter. In it, he suggests that Roberta Smith and Michael Kimmelman are hypocrites because they have called out The Metropolitan Museum of Art for accepting money from philanthropist and famed right winger David H. Koch over Twitter, but might not refuse to cover the museum. The Met’s brand-new plaza with the Beaux-Arts facade, is named after Koch because he donated $65 million to pay for it.
Koch donates heavily to corrosive right wing think tanks, climate deniers and political campaigns, but Teachout seems to think that this damage can be separated from donations to the medical and art world. Um, no. This is like expecting the benefits of eating a salad to counter the two pounds of cake you ate for breakfast.
Money, as Teachout sees it, has no smell. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, or how it was earned, if it can be spent on services or culture. This everyone-for-themselves philosophy doesn’t do anyone any good in the long run because it suggests that thinking critically about what we value most has no payoff.
Furthermore, you can’t expect two head critics at the Times to stop covering the largest institution in the city because they don’t approve of one of the donors. As a critic for the largest newspaper in the United States by circulation, he has to know this. Feigning ignorance to push forth a political agenda is dishonest—a sad hallmark of the writing within most Murdock-owned papers.