National Flood of Fake News Pours into Idaho: Special Report
Fake news, astroturf leftist media outlets flood red states. Even in Idaho.
States Newsroom aims to turn red states into blue states. Its media outlets have a local flavor, with names like the Alaska Beacon, Arizona Mirror, Missouri Independent, NC Policy Watch, Kansas Reflector, and Louisiana Illuminator.
The Idaho Capital Sun is a States Newsroom project. This project connects Idaho to what is happening in the rest of the nation. What does it mean for our state?
Look carefully, these websites have almost exactly the same design—same heading and same basic patterns. Even the copyediting appears almost identical, suggesting that these local outfits depend on a central location for proofreading and improving the prose. There is even an occasional sharing of reporters among these outlets.
These local news sites are part of a national movement. The States Newsroom had five affiliates in 2019 and 19 affiliates in 2020. There may be as many as forty sites now. Its budget was reported to be $10 million in 2020, according to the Washington Post. It hoped to spend as much as $27 million on operations in 2022 (according to tax documents), employing as many as 80 reporters.
States Newsroom is backed by “non-disclosed donors,” as Axios reports. It started with the Hopewell Fund, a leftist clearing house that does not disclose its donors. The Wyss Foundation also donated to the States Newsroom. These two funds, donating perhaps $3 million of the States Newsroom total, are just the beginning.
States Newsroom is certainly funded by the largest quasi-non-profit in the country, The New Venture Fund. This fund and its affiliates are just pass throughs for the wealthiest people in the world to funnel money to shape our politics.
The New Venture Fund
The New Venture Fund is, as Luke Rosiak writes in his book Race to the Bottom, “perhaps the most radical, powerful, and least understood force in American politics.” It is a clearing house for the biggest foundations—The Ford Foundation, Wyss, Gates, Kellogg, Macarthur, and Open Society (Soros). These foundations give separately to New Venture Fund so that their influence can be coordinated. Some of the money is non-profit 501(c)3 money. Some is used for political action through 501(c)4s. These foundations gave New Venture Fund nearly $600 million between 2014-2020. Giving has increased since the 2020 election, when the New Venture Fund spent about a billion dollars.
New Venture funds affiliates like Hopewell and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which can engage directly in political activism. New Venture also funds some state media directly and some indirectly through its sister groups. This map, snapped from Open Secrets, gives a complex look at the structure of leftist controlled digital media.
The complexity is the point. New Venture is involved in seeding social media affiliates through its ACRONYM arm. New Venture also funds Courier News, which funds websites that defend the educational status quo and seeks to expand the existence of critical race theory and queer theories in schools. There is good reason to think that New Venture funnels money through outfits that then fund local influencers on social media (i.e., Idaho's horde of lefty twitter addicts and TiKToc'ers).
The point behind the New Venture Fund is to fill the air with criss-crossing dollars, so that no one can ever say what money went to which affiliate. All have plausible deniability. All are protected from campaign finance laws. No one can follow the money--and the government, bought and paid for by New Venture Fund, would not try to investigate it anyways. Comrade Merrick Garland (also Attorney General) knows who butters his bread! Only the Left can fund itself like this with impunity.
The New Venture Fund is usually about two steps ahead of the Democratic Party ideologically—think a bunch of literate AOCs.
Idaho Capital Sun is just one of the Idaho products of this funding scheme. The influence is felt in how Capital Sun trades content with Idaho Ed News. Jacob Fischer of the Idaho Capital Sun has articles posted on Idaho Ed News. Kevin Richert, of Idaho Ed News, cross lists articles on Capital Sun.
Both Capital Sun and Idaho Ed News place articles in the Idaho Statesmen. Idaho Statesman also funds many reporters and areas of reporting from "foundations," a new donor-driven practice whereby those foundations influence news coverage. Our media is paid for through Big Foundation money. (Idaho Ed News is funded through Albertson's Foundation, but it would not surprise Action Idaho if Albertson's receives funding through the New Venture Fund)
We might think that we are facing a liberal local news media. But in reality it is a national news media with local flavor. We scratch our heads how Capital Sun and Idaho Ed News can survive without any advertising or subscription costs. Ed News conducts two podcasts that almost no one listens to (about 100 followers after years of tilling the field). How can they continue these efforts? They are funded mostly through the richest foundations in the world.
Capital Sun, Ed News, and the Statesmen all say they retain “full editorial independence” but they really are like progressive outposts on the frontier. The Idaho Capital Sun is exactly like the States Newsrooms organizations around the country. Reporters work for Newsroom, not for some local affiliate. Their editorial line is present in all aspects of operations.
These outfits are funded with no less than a million dollars per year in Idaho.
There are good reasons to believe that Take Back Idaho (a leftist fake Republican group active in the 2022 primaries) and several other groups are funded through this New Venture Fund. New Venture often establishes out-of-nowhere "pop up" groups for a single purpose, gives them a local flavor, and then disappears when they have served their purpose.
As Tablet reports, "the pop-ups do not file IRS disclosures or report their budgets, boards, or staff. In most cases, their connection to [The New Venture Fund] goes unreported. Many of them have offered sympathetic ordinary voters the opportunity to donate to whatever the “grassroots” cause happens to be, when in fact the money feeds back into [the organization's] enormous dark-money network." This pattern is nearly what we saw in Idaho after the primaries.