Are three liberal billionaires trying to control what we think of as news in America?
Hedge fund billionaire George Soros, the sugar daddy of the Democratic Party, has given NPR an initial grant of $1.8 million to begin a project called Impact of Government that will allow NPR to hire one hundred journalists at NPR member stations in all fifty states. The focus will be covering state governments and how their actions affect people. The New York Times reports the response of Vivian Schiller, NPR's president and chief executive:
Ms. Schiller said the journalists would not be part of typical statehouse coverage, but instead would work on enterprise journalism that looks at how state government decisions play out over years, and extend beyond a single state's borders.
Ann Beeson, executive director of Soros's Open Society, stated that "[w]e're looking for opportunities to support new models to fill the gap in coverage."
Of course, Soros has other goals in mind, and this is merely seed money for future donations from himself and his liberal allies. Can anyone doubt that coverage will be tilted even more liberal than it already is and will be used to favor Democrats?
This is a gimme and obvious. At the same time, Soros sends a million dollars to Media Matters, a leftist "media monitoring" group that sends out barrages of criticism whenever a news outlet (especially Fox News) reports news that does not fit Media Matters' liberal agenda. Media Matters tries to chill free speech and censor conservatives.
Cartoon by Erin Bonsteel
The only difference is that Pro Publica is geared towards providing "investigative" columns for newspapers, websites, and other media outlets. Their stories have been appearing in the Washington Post, Politico, and other media channels.
Therefore, what is reported as "news" by the government-funded NPR will be tainted (and perhaps influenced) by money provided by the hyper-partisan George Soros and "news" provided by Pro Publica (for free) to other media outlets will also be influenced by the role of Herb and Marion Sandler in funding Pro Publica. These two projects are supposed to fill gaps in coverage due to financial constraints at NPR and privately owned media outlets.
Some critics may complain that the Associated Press is liberal, but that organization is owned and funded by newspapers that are part of its syndicate -- and is independent. The Soros and Sandler effort to provide "news" may very well be corrupted by their hyper-partisan liberal funders and founders. Reporters know who is behind their paychecks. Will they, for instance, investigate how George Soros controls an empire of so-called 527 groups, such as MoveOn.Org, and astroturf groups? Will Pro Publica inquire into the reasons why the Democrats have not investigated the role of the Sandlers in the financial crisis, or why the Department of Justice, that at one time was supposed to be looking into the Sandlers's actions, has seemingly dropped such an inquiry? Will Pro Publica ask why the Sandlers have not paid a price for their long-running practice of pushing dangerous mortgages on those least able to understand or afford them?
This is not the only area where Soros and the Sandlers have found common cause.
The Sandlers and Soros also co-founded the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress ("The Democratic Idea Factory"). The Center for American Progress also has a media agenda: its "experts" are often quoted by newspapers across America as if they were independent, neutral experts; their ties to liberal billionaires are never mentioned. One of the "arms" of the Center for American progress is called "Think Progress," and this was the source, the Ground Zero, of the agitprop regarding the Chamber of Commerce ads being funded by foreign money. This absurd charge (ridiculed by even the New York Times) was fanned by Barack Obama, Robert Gibbs, and Democrat politicians running for office across America. "The Daily Show" is not the only source of Fake News.
Beyond this issue, will these two efforts be used to influence politics on the state and federal level? Both Soros and the Sandlers are part of a group called the Democracy Alliance, formed by billionaires and Democratic Party operatives, designed to elect liberal Democrats to office. One of their "projects" is called the Secretary of States Project and was expressly designed to help the campaigns of liberals who were running to become the Secretaries of States throughout the nation. These are the very officials charged with ensuring the integrity of the voting process.
Will Soros and the Sandlers try to leverage their generosity to journalists in a way to influence reporting on state politics so that Democrats friendly to them and their agenda are elected as Secretaries of State? Will they use their leverage to make sure that the various states endowed with vast reserves of shale gas are prevented from tapping these resources? (This agenda seems to be of particular import to Pro Publica.)
Will news become just campaign propaganda packaged in camouflage?
There is a cliché about elites hearing from the rest of Americans: when they want our opinions, they will give them to us. Now it seems the same cliché may apply not just to opinions, but also to news.
Will that dream of being able to influence even more the public opinion and votes of Americans be that much closer to reality?
Will the flow of news be determined by rich liberals with a political agenda?
Stay tuned.Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.