In post-shutdown America, with a $17-trillion debt, it’s clear the government doesn’t want to discuss how it spends your money. Maybe that’s because so much of that overspending can’t be defended or even explained.
The federal government has spent a staggering $364 million to fund Internews, a liberal international journalism organization also supported by lefty billionaire George Soros. No wonder the government doesn’t seem to want to talk about that.
Internews is a well-established journalism training outfit with offices in more than 70 countries and staff and advisers that include media veterans and CEOs. In 2011 alone, Internews received more than $52 million from the U.S. government, an incredible 92.4 percent of its total reported revenue for that year. This taxpayer-funded entity has also received another $1.7 million from Soros and founded at least three liberal groups.
Internews logo. Photo Credit: www.internews.org
Internews founder David Hoffman admitted in an interview with "Wired" that “many observers” might consider this use of U.S. taxpayer money to fund Internews operations around the globe to be “mighty suspicious and ethically complex.”
That’s an understatement.
Internews is funded through the State Department and USAID, yet both barely fessed up to funding the group at all, despite repeated requests for comment over the course of several weeks.
State Department officials only admitted to ever giving Internews $8.4 million for two projects. USAID cryptically called Internews “one of many training and implementation partners that support USAID programs to train journalists on media skills, journalism, ethics, communications during disasters and other media initiatives.”
George Soros. Photo Credit: www.humanevents.com
As soon as USAID was pressed about what these other “partners” were, the agency revised its response to state bluntly “[s]ince FY 2009, Internews has received 25 awards from USAID for projects around the world.”
Of course, this leaves the more than $200 million that Internews has gotten from the government from 2000-2009 unaccounted for. Internews was founded in 1982, but the tax returns before 2000 are not available to the public.
So what does Uncle Sam get for its $364 million? More than just a government-influenced journalism outfit. Internews also pushes a distinctly left-wing agenda around the globe.
[sharequote align="center"]Washington, D.C. is using its funding of Internews to buy influence through journalism. [/sharequote]
Internews founded the left-wing video operation Link TV in 1999. Link TV has received $1,376,000 from Soros since 2000. It’s also a member of the Media Consortium, which aims to create an “echo chamber” to promote liberal ideas in the media.
Internews also founded the liberal, environmental Earth Journalism Network and co-founded Climate Commons, an interactive climate change website. James Fahn, the Global Director for Environmental Programs at Internews, even warned against the “false balance” of giving climate change skeptics equal time to the “well-accepted science” of global warming.
Washington, D.C. is using its funding of Internews to buy influence through journalism. Hoffman denied “much” pressure from the government on how Internews should run. In an interview with "The North Coast Journal" in 2003, Hoffman mentioned the “government’s failure to distinguish what Internews is attempting to do – set up independent media – and what other governmental agencies, particularly the military, wants to do – issue propaganda to win hearts and minds.” That description sounds dangerously close to the “abridging the freedom of speech or of the press,” forbidden by the 1st Amendment.
With the U.S. government supplying an average of 87.6 percent of Internews funding since 2000, it’s not difficult to see why it would assume it had a say in the organization’s mission. What’s unclear is how much that “failure to distinguish” comes into play.
In a book released in September 2013 entitled “Citizens Rising,” Hoffman recalls working closely with both the U.S. and Soviet governments during the Cold War.
“Back at the hotel, I had to shake my head at the surreal absurdity of writing letters on behalf of both the Soviet and American parliaments to each other,” Hoffman wrote.
He also thanked former Internews board member and recently appointed National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Soros and a slew of government officials and Opens Society Foundation staffers for “consistently” supporting “this work.”
That work includes a global presence in politically important regions. With operations already in hot-spot countries including Egypt, Libya, and the “Palestinian Territories,” Internews branched out into Syria on Sept.16. But there is little accountability for what it teaches about journalism.
Thankfully, some in Washington do care about your money. “The federal government owes it to the American people to invest their federal tax dollars in a manner that is in Americans’ best interests,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said about Internews. “The American people want and deserve balanced media reporting, not one-sided coverage of the issues.”
Smith also noted that “one of the greatest challenges a democratic America faces today is a biased media. It is inexcusable and irresponsible for the federal government to give American taxpayers’ dollars to a one-sided media organization.”
With a liberal agenda, a global presence built on taxpayer dollars, and some Soros money added for good luck, Internews is a recipe for a journalistic ethics nightmare. How many hundred million dollars more before we wake up from this one?
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