In The Pay of Foundations
How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a "parallel left" media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.
If you check out many of the left alternative media radio/tv shows, publications, websites or blogs that receive grants from the U.S. power elite's liberal foundations, you'll notice that they rarely provide their listeners, viewers or readers with much critical news reporting or unflattering historical information about their foundation funders; and they generally also block U.S. left-wing grassroots anti-war activist viewpoints that are not within the parameters approved by the establishment liberal board members and program managers of their foundation funders from being heard on their shows, printed in their publications or featured on their websites or blogs very often.
Yet as long ago as 1915, a Colorado miners' representative, John R. Lawson, in a statement before the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations, noted that a "skillful attempt" was "being made to substitute Philanthropy for Justice" and there was "not one of these foundations, now spreading their millions over the world in showy generosity, that does not draw these millions from some form of industrial injustice," since their millions represented "the withheld wages of the... working-class." And as the now-deceased former CounterPunch co-editor Alexander Cockburn wrote on February 5, 2010:
"There are two important reminders about political phenomena...which help explain the decline of the left: first is the financial clout of the `nonprofit' foundations, tax-exempt bodies formed by rich people to dispense their wealth according to political tastes. Much of the `progressive sector'... now owes its financial survival—salaries, office accommodation, etc.—to the annual disbursements of these foundations which cease abruptly at the first manifestation of radical heterodoxy. In other words, most of the progressive sector is an extrusion of the dominant corporate world, just as are the academics, similarly dependent on corporate endowments. A second important reminder concerns the... collapse of the organized... left which used to provide a training ground for young people... "
According to the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists, U.S. journalists are supposed to:
"Avoid conflicts of interests, real or perceived.
"Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
"Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel, and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office, and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
"Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
"Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. [Note: Including those who hold power within the U.S. multi-billion dollar foundation world]
"Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
"Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money."
But during the last 25 years, some U.S. "parallel left" journalists and "parallel left" alternative media organizations have been funding their news operations by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in "charitable grants" from the tax-exempt foundations of the same U.S. power elite whose undemocratic abuses of power, crimes and immoral policies they claim to be—unlike the corporate-sponsored mainstream media—exposing and holding accountable in their "independent journalism" work and reporting. Take, for example, the foundation-sponsored Democracy Now! Productions radio-tv show which is broadcast on over 1,440 radio and television stations daily around the globe, according to the Democracy Now! Productions website.
In the early 1950s--when the CIA was using the Ford Foundation to help fund a non-communist "parallel left" as a liberal Establishment alternative to an independent, anti-Establishment revolutionary left--the Pacifica Foundation was given a $150,000 [equivalent to over $1.4 million in 2018] grant in 1951 by the Ford Foundation's Fund for Education, whose "first chief was Alexander Fraser, the president of the Shell Oil Company," according to James Ledbetter's Made Possible By... book..
Besides subsidizing the Pacifica Foundation in the early 1950s, the Ford Foundation also spent a lot of money subsidizing many other noncommercial radio or television stations in the United States. According to Ledbetter's Made Possible By..., between 1951 and 1976, the Ford Foundation "spent nearly $300 million on noncommercial radio and television."
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Pacifica relied primarily on listener-sponsor contributions to fund the operations of its radio stations. And in the early 1970s, Pacifica also began to accept funds from the U.S. Establishment's government-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting [CPB], according to Rogue State author William Blum--who worked as a KPFA staffperson in the early 1970s. By the early 1990s, according to the January/February issue of Extra! magazine, Pacifica was accepting nearly $1 million [equivalent to over $1.6 million in 2018 dollars] in "Community Service Grant" program money annually from the CPB to finance about 17 percent of "listener-sponsored" radio stations network's annual operating budget.
In the early 1990s, some Pacifica administrators also then decided to again seek grants from the Ford Foundation and other U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations. As former Pacifica Development Director Dick Bunce wrote in the appendix to the "A Strategy for National Programming" document which was prepared for the Pacifica National Board in September 1992, entitled "Appendix Foundation Grantseeking National Programming Assumptions for Foundation Fundraising":
"The national foundation grantseeking arena has changed enough in recent years to make activity in this arena potentially worthwhile--for organizations prepared to be players and partners in the same field as NPR... Foundation fundraising at this level has extraordinary payoffs... It also requires `venture capital visits' to the foundations to open doors and conversations that lead to partnerships.
"In initiating three top level contacts in April, May and June, and attempting to capitalize on the opportunities apparent to us, we have already been stretched beyond our capacity to really interface effectively with these funders...
"Short-Run Strategies for Developing a Foundation Grantseeking Program
"Seek Development Committee leadership in planning for Foundation grantseeking.
"Pursue 3 `anchor' grants to acquire funding beginning in FY'93 from the Big 3 foundations we've already begun to work with.
"Long-Range Strategies for Developing a Foundation Grantseeking Program
"Initiate an informal `feasibility inquiry' of foundation support for Pacifica's objectives by requesting visits with the dozen top prospects to shape proposals and establish relationships...
"Foundation Grants Summary: Late this spring we began our first efforts in national foundation grantseeking on behalf of national programming. We have a good chance of securing six figure grants in the coming fiscal year from any or all of the 3 foundations we're working with... , The second tier of foundation prospects is more challenging, and will require increased staff resources, a modest feasibility inquiry and active planning with the Board Development Committee."
By 1995, billionaire speculator George Soros' Open Society Institute foundation had given the Pacifica Foundation's KPFA radio station in Berkeley, California a $40,000 [equivalent to over $64,000 in 2018] grant. And in 1996, the Carnegie Corporation of New York foundation gave Pacifica a $25,000 [equivalent to over $40,000 in 2018] grant to launch a daily radio news show, Democracy Now!, hosted and produced by long-time WBAI Evening News producer Amy Goodman, that was initially broadcast from Pacifica's New York City area WBAI radio station in Manhattan on February 19, 1996.
Sitting on the board of trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York (whose assets had increased to $3.3 billion by 2017) in 1996, when it provided Democracy Now! with its initial foundation funding, were U.S. power elite-connected Establishment folks like then-Chevron board member and future Bush II administration National Security Advisor and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the managing editor of the Time Warner mainstream media conglomerate's Time magazine, Henry Muller, and the multi-millionaire wife of then-U.S. Senator and future 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry, Teresa Heinz.
And in 2017, the Carnegie Corporation of New York board of trustees included former New Jersey Governor and 9/11 Commission Report Chair Thomas Kean, former New York Times Company CEO and president Janet Robinson, PBS NewsHour Co-Anchor/Managing Editor and Duke Endowment Chairperson Judy Woodruff and the former Commander of U.S. Central Command [CENTCOM) from 2013 to 2016, (Ret.) Genaral Lloyd Austin III, who "was responsible for military strategy and joint operations throughout the Middle East and Central and South Asia" during the Obama administration, according to the Carnegie Corporation website. The same website also noted that Carnegie Corporation of New York trustee Austin helped "to spearhead the 2003 invasion of Iraq as the assistant division commander for the 3rd Infantry Division" and in 2008 "returned to Iraq as the commanding general of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq during the period when the surge forces were drawing down under Operation Iraqi Freedom."
But the Democracy Now! Productions show, not surprisingly, has apparently never been very eager to provide its viewers, listeners or website readers with much news reporting that examines how the Carnegie Corporation of New York which initially funded it has, historically and currently, been controlled by members of the U.S. power elite, undemocratically concentrates institutional economic power and accumulates wealth from an economic system that exploits workers and middle-class consumers, and works to perpetuate a militaristic, plutocratic, politically undemocratic society in the United States. (end of part 1)
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