by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Patrick Maines of The Media Institute explains in a Daily Caller column why the hype surrounding a media outlet such as ProPublica is misplaced.
ProPublica has received funding from such birds of a feather as George Soros and the Knight Foundation, but most has come from its founding chairman, Herbert Sandler, a man with a well-established history of giving to left-wing organizations like ACORN.
Sandler has also been the subject of withering, and occasionally comic, criticism for his role as the former head of Great West Financial. In 2009, Time magazine named him and his wife to their list of the “25 people most responsible for the financial crisis,” and “SNL” did a skit in ’08 in which it was suggested he should be shot.
ProPublica says it focuses on stories with “moral force,” by “shining a light on the exploitation of the weak by the strong.” With these as their mission statement, funders, and modus operandi, it will come as a shock to no one that ProPublica’s light rarely shines on issues as would discomfit liberals and progressives, even as they also publish stories that are down the middle.
Nowhere to be found this year, for instance, are investigative stories focusing of the future effects of the kind of deficit spending currently being done by states, localities, and the federal government. No investigations of public employee unions and the role they play in stimulating those deficits. No investigations of the outsized impact on healthcare costs caused by ambulance chasing trial lawyers. No investigations of the derelictions and inadequacies of public school educators and administrators.
No investigations of the failure and counterproductive aspects of the many taxpayer-funded “poverty programs.” No investigations of the obvious fraud in the exploding number of people claiming disability benefits. No investigations of the willful misuse of claims of racial bias made by politicians and government officials. No investigations of the compelling legal arguments, based on the First Amendment, behind decisions like Citizens United.
Of course, that’s not necessarily a problem if people have access to many viewpoints in the age of ideological media.