Nearly two dozen liberal foundations will begin dropping $500 million into propping up local media infrastructures to drive coverage of issues that include criminal justice reform and climate change ahead of the 2024 elections.
The initiative, called Press Forward, consists of 22 left-wing foundations and was organized by the MacArthur Foundation, which has pumped millions of dollars into progressive journalistic endeavors to create an “equitable future by informing, engaging, and activating Americans through deep investments in just and inclusive news and narratives.”
The effort will likely aid Democrat candidates who espouse those stances as a byproduct of its mission. The MacArthur Foundation, meanwhile, is linked to the Biden administration through the president’s Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, which seeks to reduce gun violence, according to a White House press release from last year.
“My sense is that we are losing a newspaper in America every week, and that’s a dangerous thing for American democracy,” MacArthur Foundation president John Palfrey told the Washington Post on the new effort. “It’s hard to have a democracy when you don’t have good local news. When you lose credible news sources, misinformation and disinformation swoop in.”
According to the Post, the coalition plans to thrust $100 million annually into the measure over the next five years for what they call a “lifeline” for local news.
The Post did not indicate what type of journalism the money will support. The MacArthur Foundation, however, elaborates in a press release, suggesting the goal is to create a pipeline to push left-wing causes and issues.
“We have a moment to support the reimagination, revitalization, and rapid development of local news,” Palfrey said in the release. “We are prepared to support the strongest ideas and seed new ones; build powerful networks; and invest in people, organizations, and networks with substantial resources.”
“The philanthropic sector recognizes the need to strengthen American democracy and is beginning to see that progress on every other issue, from education and healthcare to criminal justice reform and climate change, is dependent on the public’s understanding of the facts,” he said.
As the MacArthur Foundation seeks to drive issues such as criminal justice reform through the $500 million effort, it simultaneously funds separate advocacy initiatives on the matter.
For example, the foundation propels the “Safety and Justice Challenge,” which invests in local “equity-based solutions” on public safety, such as diversion and bail reform, to reduce the jail population by 50 percent.
According to the initiative’s website, “The MacArthur team provides strategic direction and messaging, makes final decisions regarding funding, and exercises grant-making authority.” Its 2021 tax forms show they disbursed around 80 grants for the campaign, which largely went to several counties. Some grants made their way to groups such as the Vera Institute of Justice, which, along with its work to reduce jail populations, receives hundreds of millions from the Biden administration in government contracts to help illegal immigrants fight deportations.
The MacArthur Foundation possesses an endowment of over $7 billion and has already disbursed nearly 1700 grants as part of its journalism program, its website states. Recent examples of “grantees in the news” include stories on reparations and Juneteenth.
Some MacArthur Foundation journalism grantees, such as the Society of Environmental Journalists, aim to dispute “disinformation” by appearing to ban oil and natural gas proponents in news stories, according to the Western Energy Alliance, which itself pushes oil and natural gas.
The Western Energy Alliance points to a webinar the association held earlier this year, where a participant asked about including dissenting voices from “lobbyists and these pressure groups.”
“I definitely don’t include climate denial voices in my stories,” a Los Angeles Times climate reporter said.
“Billionaire foundations should realize local news outlets’ decline largely stems from their parroting elite cities’ outlets, which are rejected by ordinary Americans but speak in lockstep with left-wing foundations like MacArthur,” Capital Research Center president Scott Walter told Fox News Digital.
“These rich, privileged funders don’t want to support genuine local news; they want to manufacture a thousand little New York Times clones. Calling that ‘democracy’ is a bad joke.”
The MacArthur Foundation did not respond to Fox News Digital’s inquiry on the half-billion-dollar journalism campaign.