Local News Is Dying. Left-wing Donors See An Opportunity.

In exchange for helping a struggling industry, these donors gain more control over the media, its narratives, and public thought.

Written by Hudson Crozier

What’s happening: Several left-wing organizations are teaming up for an initiative called “Press Forward” to “reverse the dramatic decline in local news” across the U.S., noting that thousands of newspapers have closed since 2005. Donors will give over $500 million to local news outlets over the next five years.

Why it matters: Media outlets that depend on large donors are naturally encouraged to earn their approval with coverage that fits their political biases. In exchange for helping a struggling industry, these donors get more control over the media, its narratives, and public thought.

  • A growing trend: Philanthropy spending for journalism is on the rise, according to research published last month. One group funded by liberal megadonor George Soros purchased 18 Spanish-speaking radio stations with millions of viewers last year, sparking outrage from conservative Hispanics.

Openly political: The groups behind the Press Forward fund have a record of endorsing feminist and environmental causes, abortion, censorship of online “disinformation,” and other left-wing causes. They say that supporting local journalism will create social “progress” on issues “from education and healthcare to criminal justice reform and climate change.”

It could backfire: A large majority of Americans blame the media for increasing political divisions and see it as heavily biased, polling shows. More financial influence from partisan interests could lower trust even more.