Last week, ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity won a prestigious White House Correspondents’ Association award for their reporting on black lung disease in miners.  This week, CPI alone won the Pulitzer prize for that work, too.  What about ABC?  Well, as Politico reports this morning, the network’s pretty upset about this, with ABC news honcho, Jeffrey Schneider, exclaiming that CPI “showed a stunning lack of integrity and misled the Pulitzer board with its submission, which diminished our work to the point of non-existence.”

For its part, CPI’s Executive Director, Bill Buzenberg, responded:

…The 25,000 words that we submitted to the Pulitzer Board were written by Chris Hamby. This was our report from our incredible reporter who spent a year doing this. He knows it forwards and backwards. ABC would be completely lost without the work that he did.

We had a partnership with ABC. ABC does fantastic television. I love the fact that they took our work and put it on television. What they didn’t do was write this report or do this investigation. For a year I’ve watched Hamby sit at a desk stacked with thousands and thousands of documents. That’s how the investigation was conducted.

ABC News contributed to the impact that the report had. They were a great megaphone, and it clearly helped with the impact. But ABC would not have a television report without the work that Chris Hamby did over the course of the year.

As I have written about previously, foundation-driven CPI is really no better than a lobbying outfit dressed up as a news organization; and ABC – its long-time partner – a launder of sorts, broadly disseminating the collected “truths,” and in doing so, giving them the patina of impartiality.

In one of the spat letters going to CPI, ABC news exec of “Editorial Quality,” Kerry Smith, tellingly laments:

ABC NEWS and CPI have for decades collaborated on investigations. Ben Sherwood has served on the board of this honorable and important organization founded by former ABC NEWS producer Chuck Lewis. CPI’s management’s decisions in submitting an inaccurate and misleading entry without consulting us and not acknowledging our true role after winning have brought us to this point. In a world of decreasing resources for in-depth investigative journalism that is very sad outcome. (Emphasis added)

Wake up, America.  The truly sad outcome here is lobbyists are writing your “news”…

…They have been for decades.  And, in a world of “decreasing resources,” expect more and more of it to come your way.


The Koch brothers get a lot of pushback from the progressive Left for their so-called “dark money” efforts – that is, funding think tanks, academics and advocacy outlets to shape public policy and politics, ostensibly to their ends.  But this is not a new phenomenon; the Koch brothers are just the latest targets of the progressive’s ire.  For the past 40 years, progressives have made a full court press to limit money in politics, hoping people buy into the idea that money (especially conservative money) isn’t speech, and by limiting it through campaign finance reform and other mandates, America’s electoral system will somehow be clean, pure and immune to “untoward” influence.

But, reality is not nearly so tidy.  Policy occurs through the exchange of information – that is, speech. And it takes a lot of money to fund those efforts.  The Left knows this well, and has mastered the art of generating funding tools to affect public policy.  Foundations like Ford, MacArthur, Knight, Rockefeller Brothers, Park and Open Society sit at the top of this funding heap, spending millions each year to do what…

…the Koch brothers also do.

The Koch brothers are somehow “evil” for doing it, however.

Go figure.

Now, imagine if the Koch brothers had a partnership with the mainstream media to create programming for broadcast on, let’s say, a nightly network newscast?   How do you think that would be accepted, especially given the current environment?

That’s right.  The partnering news outlet and its product would be called sham-journalism by the Left because it helped traffic in Koch “propaganda” (as this Media Matters piece shows).


Of course, when progressives do the same thing, they get awards.  In fact, earlier this week, the Center for Public Integrity received an award from the White House Correspondents’ Association for its work with ABC network news on a story about miners with black lung disease.

Why the double standard?

ABC can tolerate the conflicted partnership because the mainstream media in general doesn’t care.  Nearly all U.S. broadcast and print news outlets are run by progressives.  So, the “truths” offered by outfits like CPI go unquestioned, and more, have to be shouted from the electronic mountaintops because that’s the role of journalism in America – to shout progressive “truths” and none other.

Will this type of mainstream media partnership with non-profit journalism proliferate? Yes.  It’s becoming more commonplace, as old walls that once would have prevented these relationships disappear.

For the mainstream media – one which brands itself as being an impartial arbiter of truth – it stretches credulity to believe it can serve as both a  zealous advocate and disinterested party simultaneously.  The conflict is real, and I think damaging to the MSM.  But, I’ve gotten over it.  It’s their printing press; who am I to tell them what to do with it?

What really drives me nuts, however, are the hypocrites who believe that only they, or their approved progressive brethren, can parade about cloaked as “real journalists,” while at the same time working in overdrive to vilify and deny that same ability to others with whom they disagree (mainly conservatives).

I have a problem when I see a story like this, written by a guy who was hired primarily to say nothing nice about America’s largest communications companies.  Employed, in essence, to belittle and degrade those companies’ ability to speak as they see fit.  Writing stories that, without any qualms, use friendly, dial-a-bite sources who take funds from the very same foundations that fund his work.  Dutifully citing facts from “expert” research underwritten, again, by his progressive overlords.

On top of this, the outfit that hired him – CPI – has the audacity to call his work and that of his cohorts “real journalism,” and then accept nice pats on the back by its progressive, mainstream partners who, in pure self-interest, give groups like CPI cover, further obscuring the line between outright lobbying and disinterested reporting.

Hypocrisy never boosts one’s integrity.  It looks like one’s got something to hide.  And CPI does – it’s essentially a lobbying wing of its progressive benefactors, camouflaged by foundation speech dollars to look like a bona fide news outlet.

The Koch brothers – we know where they stand, being reminded incessantly of their “evilness” by an angry, anti-conservative press corps.   These progressive “truth monopolists” who so dominate the marketplace of ideas would serve the quest for truth far better if they were as forthcoming about their own efforts and those of their cronies.

For as they tell us, monopoly – which limits choice and distorts the marketplace – stands against the public interest.

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Occasionally, I go onto job boards to see what’s out there in the job market.  In one of those searches last fall, I stumbled across this – an opening at the Center for Public Integrity for a “Politics of Broadband” reporter:

CPI Allan Holmes

The CPI is a self-appointed watchdog that takes its main support from progressive advocacy foundations such as Ford, MacArthur, Knight, Open Society (Soros) and Park, among others. These groups fund CPI not for journalism, per se, but for outright special interest advocacy to shape public policy and tool Americans.

By painting a patina of “disinterested journalism” on top of its reporting, CPI can launder “truths” into the information spin cycle, where they get picked up by news agencies for broad, uncritical consumption and acceptance by an unwitting public.

The abovementioned job description is telling.  Using the “tools of investigative journalism,” the ideal candidate will focus on the political influence of “mainly of the nation’s largest cable and telecommunications companies,” and report from a “public interest rather than an industry perspective.”

Hmmm.  Looks like CPI was looking for someone with a preordained point of view – one who automatically paints some types of lobbying (i.e., that of the largest cable and telecommunications companies) as contrary to the First Amendment; sees large corporations (such as the largest cable and telecommunications companies) as repugnant to Democracy; and favors the “public interest,” whatever the heck that is, as the lone shepherd of all that is good, fair and right.

Do such closed-minded individuals really exist?  Answer: Yes – just look at the mainstream media.  It’s larded with those types of people.

Anyway, on December 2nd last year CPI hired Allan Holmes, a “veteran” reporter, for the position.  He’s been busy of late, writing stories that fulfill the myopic job description well.  Biased stories, cleverly painted to look like acts of real journalism.

Make no mistake about it, though, Holmes’ work is “dark journalism,” the very opposite of disinterest and objectivity.  No truth can escape this black hole other than what the foundation supporters want and pay for.  Consequently, a “journalist” working in this milieu is no more than a press secretary, writing press releases for the special interests which pay him.

It’s mercenary work – but don’t call it journalism.

More to come…


Many of the loudest Net Neutrality supporters believe that the Internet, and all those tremendous pipes that bring it to them, are the public’s.  And, as the FCC studies its Net Neutrality smackdown from January and how it wants to regulate the Internet going forward (note – it’s not a question of if it will, but rather how, ‘cuz it will regulate in some manner just to stay “relevant”), those free-loving, anti-property Net Neutrality supporters have begun anew to urge that the FCC basically confiscate the private property of ISPs (all 1,600 of them in the U.S.), and place that glob into involuntary servitude for Americans to be run essentially as publicly owned utilities.

You know, when I think of public utilities, innovation, growth, nimbleness, competitiveness – among many other adjectives which connote real responsiveness to marketplace demands – do not come to mind.

Rather, when I think of public utilities, this is what I ask myself:


Sure, slugs serve some ecosystem – one that’s slow, primordial, un-evolved.  If you think, however, that a government-controlled slug will somehow make your life and Internet “better,” you’ve got your head deep in a shell.

An Internet like that is unacceptable.  It is the exact opposite of real, sustainable progress.

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Video: Muni-Provided B-band = Dirty Hands, Sticky Fingers (with Seton Motley)

March 26, 2014

FCC Muni B-Band Plan Would Be an Odd Result of Net Neutrality Ruling from Mike Wendy on Vimeo. In this video, Less Government’s Seton Motley talks about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s new plan to boost uptake of broadband by promoting publicly-funded, muni-provided broadband services.  It is a plan the unelected Wheeler seeks to impose especially […]

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Give Us an Internet As Innovative As Our Streets!

March 24, 2014

Comcast and Apple have reportedly begun exploring a “TV deal,” which The Hill reports would: “…[L]et users stream live and on-demand television stored on the Internet, essentially replacing a normal cable box. “Service over the potential arrangement would be separated from regular Internet connections over the so-called ‘last mile’ of connection to a consumer, where heavy […]

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Holman Jenkins Discusses the “Public Interest” Circus Driving Today’s Anti-Merger Theater

March 12, 2014

I don’t usually employ much of other writers’ work in my pieces because of fair use concerns.  But, today’s piece on the Comcast / Time Warner merger by WSJ’s Holman Jenkins (“Now on Cable: That 90’s Show”) needs pointing out.  In the article, he makes some prescient observations about the professional, sky-is-falling “pubic interest” advocates […]

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FCC “Newsroom Study” Goes Well Beyond Simple Incompetence

March 5, 2014

In explaining the FCC’s walk-back of its controversial Critical Information Needs study (or, “newsroom study”) the other week, the Agency noted: “By law, the FCC must report to Congress every three years on the barriers that may prevent entrepreneurs and small business from competing in the media marketplace, and pursue policies to eliminate those barriers.” […]

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Failed FCC “Newsroom Study,” Etc., Etc., Shows Big Government Actually Despises the First Amendment

February 24, 2014

Last week’s step-back of the FCC’s Newsroom / Critical Information Needs Study (a.k.a. the Fairness Doctrine 2.0 Study) got me to thinking.  I know there are subtleties in all the citations mentioned below, but in looking at this (from my own narrow work) it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Washington really despises First Amendment […]

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Statement: FCC Response to Net Neutrality Ruling a Mixed-Bag; Could Lead to More Regulation, Not Less

February 19, 2014

The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President of Alexandria, VA, February 19, 2014 – Today the FCC issued new guidance as it seeks to respond to the DC Circuit’s ruling last month, which struck down core aspects of the agency’s Net Neutrality rule.  To this end, the Commission has announced that […]

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