Left-Wing Orgs Join Forces To Commit Over $500 Million To Influence Local Media

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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A coalition of 22 groups, including prominent left-wing organizations, have pledged more than $500 million to fund local media publications over the course of five years, according to an announcement posted on Thursday.

The new coalition is called “Press Forward,” and many of the groups in it appear to have a left-wing bias based on their funding and initiatives, although the group states it “is independent of ideology.” The coalition plans to reverse the downward trajectory of local news outlets and “close longstanding inequities in journalism coverage and practice,” according to the announcement of its formation.

Since 2005, about 2,500 newspapers have ceased operations, according to The New York Times. This number is rising and many that are still in business have been forced to reduce staff.

Press Forward will allocate the $500 million to fund grants to support local newsrooms, provide resources to diverse publications and assist in developing collaborative tools such as legal support and membership programs, according to the announcement.

The MacArthur Foundation is leading the coalition and has pledged $150 million in grants, according to the NYT. It has frequently contributed to left-wing organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Tides Foundation and Environmental Defense Fund, according to its grants database, giving more than $5 million to each, according to InfluenceWatch.

Knight Foundation is also donating $150 million and has previously given over $1.2 million to nine universities and nonprofits to “combat disinformation in communities of color” in 2022, according to its website. (RELATED: Left-Wing Dark Money Group Behind Twitter Boycott Sets Sights On New Target)

The other 20 groups are contributing the remainder of the over $500 million, one of which is Democracy Fund, an organization run by left-wing billionaire Pierre Omidyar. Democracy Fund provided a $130,000 grant to Center for Internet Security to fund a “portal” that was used to flag and censor social media content containing “misinformation” during the 2020 election, according to tax records obtained by independent journalist Lee Fang.

Furthermore, the Ford Foundation is a member of the coalition, an organization that helped launch the Black Feminist Fund in 2021 with $15 million in seed funding, according to its website.

Another member of the coalition is Archewell Foundation, which is run by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

“Press Forward seeks to reverse the dramatic decline in local news that has coincided with an increasingly divided America and weakening trust in institutions,” according to the announcement.

Moreover, the groups in the coalition “aligned on a set of shared values to guide their grantmaking: prioritizing transformation, centering community needs, growing with equity, ensuring accessibility, and preserving the editorial independence of news gathering organizations,” according to the announcement.

“The MacArthur Foundation has been funding public service journalism for several decades with a core belief that no-strings-attached, general operating support to news outlets best preserves editorial independence, serves democracy, and gives news outlets the freedom required to cover the news and serve their audiences as they see fit,” a spokesperson for the MacArthur Foundation told the DCNF. “The funding we provide comes without expectations or requirements on coverage priorities, and always will.”

“Knight Foundation believes that in order to deliver on its promise to American democracy, news organizations must be independent, and journalists must be free to report about issues without influence from others,” Knight Foundation Director of Communications Rebecca Dinar told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation and Archewell Foundation did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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