Advocacy Journalism: Who Funds Nonprofit News?

Nonprofit doesn’t mean nonpartisan.

Written by Hudson Crozier

The scoop: The nonprofit news wire Associated Press receives millions of dollars in funding from dozens of left-leaning organizations and zero right-leaning ones, according to a report by The Washington Free Beacon. The groups advocate for such causes as abortion, transgenderism in schools, expanding the Supreme Court, and fighting climate change.

Why it matters: The A.P. is one of the most trusted news sources, setting industry standards with its famous stylebook and wielding immense power as a fact-checker on social platforms. While it claims to be independent and unbiased, it has a strong incentive to put out coverage that will please its partisan donors and ensure their continued support.

Obvious examples: The A.P.’s "democracy journalism” initiative, funded by liberal groups, is dedicated to covering “the intersection of race and voting” and how election integrity laws put voting rights “at risk.” The A.P. also tackles “inclusive storytelling” on “race and systemic inequality” with support from the Ida B. Wells Society, which was founded by the author of the discredited 1619 Project on slavery.

Zoom out: Under the nonprofit funding model, media outlets often blur the lines between journalism and activism. ProPublica, for example, attacked conservative Supreme Court justices while being heavily bankrolled by liberal groups, including ones that want to pack the court. This is one of many ways that today’s corporate journalists have cozied up to partisan politics.

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