Journalists Pretend Media Darling ProPublica Not ‘Left Wing’
By Aly Nielsen
After White House press secretary Sean Spicer called ProPublica a “left-wing blog” in an April 3 press conference, ProPublica responded on Twitter claiming “we’re actually in the biz of facts.” But the “left-wing” description is indeed a fact.
Media outlets like The Huffington Post, Salon, The Washington Post and Vox all defended ProPublica’s research, but refused to consider the nonprofit outlet’s liberal bias. Additionally, The Post is one of ProPublica’s 139 publishing partners and The Huffington Post has co-published stories with ProPublica. Yet neither outlet disclosed those relationships.
ProPublica was founded in 2007 with support from The liberal Sandler Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation and others. Since then, ProPublica has received at least $33.35 million from the Sandler Foundation according to tax documents. It has also received funding George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation (not affiliated with the car company.).
The Sandler Foundation has supported a litany of top liberal organizations, including the Center for American Progress, the Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice and the American Civil Liberties Union.
ProPublica writer Kim Barker was also instrumental in the IRS targeting conservative organizations in 2012 and 2013. Barker repeatedly attacked conservative 401c(4) groups and accused them of violating tax law by spending too much on politics.
More recently, ProPublica’s president Richard Tofel defended Buzzfeed’s decision to publish an unverified, salacious dossier in January 2017. The dossier accused President Trump of communicating with Russian operatives.
“Publication will likely accelerate discovery of what in dossier is true and what not. That is what we should all want,” Tofel tweeted.
After the 2016 presidential election, ProPublica added an entire “Trump Administration” section to its website to house its “ongoing coverage of the 45th president and his administration.” Already, 73 stories have been added to the section since November 18, 2016. Eight of those stories attacked either Trump or his administration for their man-made climate change skepticism.
No such section existed during President Obama’s administration.
ProPublica’s 2016 annual report boasted that it has had “139 publishing partners in eight and a half years.” 2016 partners included The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, USA Today and others.