Brian Burgess in an article posted to Florida’s must-read news site The Capitolist, reported recently that financial disclosure forms filed by a secretive web of dark money non-profit groups, most of them sharing similar goals ranging from controversial social justice initiatives
to radical environmental agendas, have joined forces to create and fund a new agenda-driven media network that is buying influence with so-called “mainstream” media in order to advance its policy objectives.
For example, reported Mr. Burgess, under the guise of “independent, investigative journalism,” the network opposes gas and oil companies and utilities that they believe represent “powerful interests stalling climate action.” And mainstream media outlets are increasingly willing to rely on support from these media outlets without questioning the sources of funding that pays for their work.
Our friends at the Media Research Center have been monitoring the increasing influence of liberal political funding in the media for years, and now say the amount of money flowing into mainstream outlets, which claim to be non-partisan and unbiased, has been increasing in recent years.
“Leftist foundations funding the news isn’t so new to public broadcasting,” Tim Graham, Executive Editor of NewsBusters, and the Director of Media Analysis for the Media Research Center told Mr. Burgess. “But it’s been growing among for-profit news outlets, which shouldn’t make sense that you would compromise your appearance of neutrality so you can pay for a couple of extra reporters.”
Yet that’s exactly what’s been happening in Florida. Last year, the Palm Beach Post took money that was funneled from the left-wing Knight Foundation through ProPublica, which purports to be an independent investigative media outlet, but whose funding comes from a number of decidedly left-wing sources. InfluenceWatch, which tracks and catalogues funding across a broad spectrum of political organizations, analyzed ProPublica’s reporting and wrote:
The group’s story choices and rhetorical framing appear to indicate a left-leaning bias.
Later, the Knight Foundation later gave the Palm Beach Post an award for publishing the story that Knight paid them to produce.
“There’s been a trend in recent years for environmental leftists to fund “objective” news outlets,” including at the Associated Press,” Graham told Burgess, pointing to reporting by the MRC’s NewsBusters exposing NPR’s link to the Rockefeller Foundation, saying there is a double standard starting to emerge among media outlets that have long claimed to be objective. “NPR is drawing money from the Rockefeller Foundation, which also funds the AP environment reporting. Liberal journalists think there’s nothing compromising about taking on-the-record or off-the-record money from liberal groups because they are in the ‘public interest’ and not for rapacious capitalism.”
In Florida, reported Mr. Burgess, another source that is frequently cited by legacy media outlets across the state is the work of Seeking Rents publisher Jason Garcia. From Politico Florida to the Orlando Sentinel and WLRN, Garcia’s work is used without any of the outlets questioning how he gets paid. Garcia quit his job with the Orlando Sentinel earlier this year to publish his stories at Substack, a platform that allows him to collect small subscription fees to help pay for his work, and much skepticism exists that he can support himself on subscriptions alone.
Garcia has a close relationship with Far Left Democrat State Rep. Ana Eskamani and her sister, lobbyist Ida Eskamini, both of whom have deep ties to the same dark money media network that funds Floodlight News.
Whether they are accepting funding, relying on support, or just using the work of dark money outlets like Garcia’s Seeking Rents, or Floodlight News, or ProPublica, mainstream media outlets are increasingly doing so without questioning the source of the support, while cloaking their reporting behind a facade of objectivity concluded Mr. Burgess.
Click here to subscribe to Florida’s The Capitolist ReCap newsletter.
Control of Congress
leftwing news outlets
Seeking Rents Jason Garcia