Just thought you would like to know
The Anchorage Daily News announced the other day it would be partnering with ProPublica – an investigative reporting organization that is the brainchild of left-leaning, Bay Area billionaires and former mortgage bankers Herb and Marion Sandler.
The ADN reported it was one of 14 newsrooms across the country to be picked from among 215 applicants for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in 2019. The New York-based, Pulitizer Prize-winning organization’s local reporting program, launched earlier this year, provides investigative and accountability reporting support at local and regional levels, the newspaper stated.
This year, with seven newsrooms involved, Propublica’s selected newspapers pursued a wide range of reporting projects. In 2019, with seven more, the focus will be on state government and politics, the ADN says.
Says the state’s largest newspaper: “ProPublica editors will provide support to Daily News staff members on reporting throughout the year. The organization, which bills itself as an independent, nonprofit newsroom with 125 employees, will underwrite the salary of ADN Special Projects Editor Kyle Hopkins for the year.”
For its part, ProPublica’s senior editor Charles Ornstein says he is “excited to pursue another year of investigative projects with moral force,” the ADN reports.
That is nice, we suppose, but we wonder exactly whose moral force is he talking about?
The Sandlers’ Golden West Financial Corp. “allegedly targeted subprime borrowers with “pick-a-pay” mortgages that left negative-amortization dupes owing more after each payment,” says Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, in a Washington Examiner column.
“The Sandlers are relentlessly partisan, giving millions to the Democratic Party and its allies: $2.5 million to the MoveOn.org Voter Fund, $8.5 million to Citizens for a Strong Senate, and $2 million to the Center for American Progress, liberal think-tank of John Podesta, who led President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008.
“George Soros gave $250,000 in 2010, and his Open Society Institute’s former vice president, Gara Lamarche, joined the board of directors, replacing Pew Charitable Trusts President Rebecca Rimel.”
He also pointed out, “ProPublica’s website shows no investigation of MoveOn.org or its Voter Fund or of Podesta’s Center for American Progress, or, for that matter, of any other left leaning organization that the Sandlers have supported.”
Slate’s Jack Shafer wondered in 2007 what the Sandlers would want in return for the $10 million a year they promised ProPublica.
“Perhaps to return us to the days of the partisan press,” he mused. “If I were a newspaper editor considering ProPublica copy for a future issue, the first thing I’d want is proof of a firewall preventing the Sandlers and other funders from picking—or nixing—the targets of its probes.
“And if I were an editorial writer, I’d call upon Herbert Sandler to provide ProPublica with 10 years of funding ($100 million), and then resign from his post as the organization’s chairman so he’ll never be tempted to bollix up what might turn out to be a good thing.”
We cannot help but wonder whether the ADN or any other newspaper would be quite so excited about opening their newsrooms if the brothers Koch – Charles and David – funded an investigative journalism project and generously gave stories to newspapers as freebies – and even offered to fully fund their reporters. The Left’s media pals would implode. Can you imagine the outcry. There would be snits and tantrums and outright meltdowns. The horror! Nobody will trust us, they would cry. What about credibility? It’s an attempt to co-op us. What about public trust?
And that is where we are today: An investigative journalism organization funded largely by Outside leftist billionaires and foundations now has its fingers in the newsroom of Alaska’s largest newspaper, which has taken heat from some as being too left-leaning already. How much influence will the Sandlers and other contributors’ money have at the ADN? How independent is ProPublica? Is next year’s ProPublica promised focus on politics and government simply code for targeting Republicans and business? That remains to be seen.
Just thought you would like to know.