Liberal Journalism Is Flush With Cash And Conservatives Should Be Worried
By Dan Gainor
The left plans a so-called March for Science on Earth Day, April 22, as part of its national tantrum against the Trump Administration. But the more-important event has already taken place and liberals are far ahead of their opponents.
It’s called the Dash for Cash.
That annual fundraising marathon is part of the left’s push to finance liberal journalism, while claiming it’s neutral and unbiased. 2017 has already been a banner year for left-wing charities. The ACLU raised more than $24 million online in just a few days. That’s “nearly seven times as much raised online in 2015, roughly $3.5 million,” a spokesman told The New York Times.
Nowhere is that financial success more important to the left than journalism. Liberals can already count on the traditional media to push their agenda, especially in Trump’s America. But these politicized outlets operate under different rules. They build their operations with prominent left-wing funding and then pretend to produce neutral journalism — working in concert with the traditional press. Viewers and readers never know the difference. And they need to learn.
The results of that reporting can be staggering as agenda-based outlets influence policy, attack companies and eviscerate people on a national level. The left used this strategy to push climate change alarmism, target ExxonMobil and undermine potential EPA nominees. The Media Research Center has been tracking those trends, as well as the money foundations donate to them on a website called BuyingBias.org.
It’s more important than ever. According to a new report from the Center for International Media Assistance, half of all journalism donations studied were designed to directly or indirectly influence editorial agendas. That should make readers cautious about outfits that get liberal money and claim neutrality.
The liberal-founded and Soros-funded ProPublica is one outfit that requires close attention because it is doing especially well. It’s one of the most visible left-wing journalism operations. Prior to this year, it had tons of industry status — including three Pulitizers, two Emmys and a Peabody award. Now it’s got the anti-Trump Seal of Approval and journalists are thrilled. ProPublica also has 139 big-name news media partners, including all three broadcast networks and both The Washington Post and The New York Times.
HBO’s left-wing, sometime comedian John Oliver carried the outlet to the next level soon after the election. He urged viewers to “donate to groups like ProPublica, a nonprofit group which does great investigative journalism,” It was part of an episode-long rant against Trump where he advocated support for series of liberal groups including abortion giant Planned Parenthood and eco-extremists at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Angry liberals ate it up and the result has been stunning. “ProPublica is flush with cash from public-spirited contributors looking to finance hard-hitting journalism,” said the Poynter Institute, a journalism education organization. That’s an understatement. ProPublica’s monthly recurring donations have skyrocketed from $4,500 in October before the rant to $104,000 in January — 23 times higher. That works out to at least $1.2 million in a year. Other areas of the group’s funding also saw huge spikes. It raised $17.2 million in 2016, a monstrous hike from recent years.
The result is ProPublica adding “somewhere between 15 and 25 journalists to its newsrooms in New York and Illinois.” At least 10 are targeted for its new invasion of battleground state Illinois, as the left uses journalism to try to reverse GOP growth. The organization is getting seed funding for that new project from the liberal Ford Foundation. ProPublica has a similar offshoot planned for New York.
ProPublica is staffed with top-flight journalists and has an Journalism Advisory Board filled with big names including: ABC News’s vice president for editorial quality Kerry Smith; former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson; and left-wing Univsion’s news and digital president Isaac Lee.
It’s funding list features several top names from the liberal donor community: George Soros’s Foundation to Promote Open Society, eco-warrior Tom Steyer, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and the Google News Lab. No wonder it brought in more than $9 million in grants larger than $50,000.
Conservatives have nothing to compete with an outlet of that stature. That means it can set the agenda wherever it goes and be unchallenged. The right already has enough problems fending off the traditional media. Deep-pocketed outlets like ProPublica are a new threat and conservatives need to match it.