US Aid to Leftist Journalism

Through the State Department — an organization working at cross purposes to American interests since before the first jihadist war in 1805 — US taxpayers are funding a hard-left journalist group. The group operates in 90 countries, and the State Deparment claimed that “[s]ince 2009, Internews implemented more than 25 projects around the world for USAID.” They say that they’ve trained more than 10,000 journalists in the last year, which I would wager includes folks like the Benghazi Insider I mentioned a few days ago.

They got their seed money from George Soros, and are funded by Tides Foundation and such, but almost all the money these days comes from the US taxpayer. The rate has risen to more than $52 million per year, as of 2011 (the most recent number reported). More than $360,000,000 has been fed to these people.

More details here.

We — and more specifically, the US government — should not be in the business of funding any journalists, except to narrowly advance American interests, and that very cautiously indeed. There’s no danger of advancing American interests here: as Internews’ head noted in an interview:

Internews turns down money from any source if it carries a requirement to promote an American geo-political agenda.

Isn’t it interesting that the State Department is so willing to generously fund them without any such requirement? In this case, we are funding reporting by people who are no friends to America. The leader was interviewed in Wired years ago. Some excerpts:

David Hoffman drives a Toyota Tercel, wears khakis, and keeps his graying curls short. He’s an odd mix of selfless crusader and self-promoter, bold enough to tease me with a job offer as we head from the airport to the Internews headquarters in Humboldt County, and passionate enough to make a convincing case for his cause. Both The Celestine Prophecy and Foreign Affairs lie on his desk. And he reveals no signs of being the man the experts of post-Soviet media call the “nonprofit Ted Turner.” * * *

Of course, many observers might look upon Hoffman’s history of absconding with US public monies to infiltrate Russia’s airwaves and to establish mega-advertising nodes among millions of new consumers as mighty suspicious and ethically complex. But Hoffman fails to see any conundrum. * * *

A surviving avatar of the antinuclear movement, Hoffman exemplifies the ’90s boomer shift from the movement to the market. He spent the early ’70s organizing labor unions in the San Francisco Bay area – “I even did one at Lawrence Livermore National Labs,” he boasts, “the first union of nuclear weapons scientists” – before moving to Humboldt in 1976. During the first three years in the northern coastal county, Hoffman lived barefoot in the forest. * * *

This spiritual exile helped Hoffman overcome his self-described “New Left Marxism.” Perhaps it was then that the notion of working within a system – several systems at that – began to seem like a legitimate, if ungroovy path.

Funding this organization at all, let alone to the tune of more than a third of a billion dollars, strikes me as decidedly “ungroovy.”

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • http://DeHavelle.com Keith DeHavelle

    It is certainly permissible for these folks to hold their own opinions, to be on the ground working with al Qaeda helping them (or trying) to become media savvy, helping the Palestinians set up their “Pallywood” Israeli hate machines and so on. The cure for speech is more speech.

    My objection is that the US taxpayer is paying for it. Soros and his ilk spend hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-American activities, and he’s welcome to use his money any way he wants to that is legal. (It is a pity that the US government is involved in business, because that makes crony capitalism marginally legal.)

    But I should not be forced to add my money to Soros’s hate campaigns. That’s the problem; I (and the rest of American taxpayers) don’t have a choice.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Curious

    What is it exactly that Internews has done which is objectionable? It seems this is only about the person leading the organization rather than what the group has actually done. It may be problematic but this article provides no evidence that it is.

  • Citizen Tom

    We Americans like to think ourselves a sophisticated people. Nonetheless, we let a bunch of power-hungry lunatics spend hundreds of billions of dollars of our money on insane projects. Yet when I point such things out to people who think themselves Conservative, they refuse to accept any responsibility. They blame someone else for voting for Obama, but fixing the blame on some other idiot does not solve problems.

    Because we each can only control our own attitude and actions, we must look at what we might have done — what we should be doing. We must consider that the political activity of the vast majority consists of doing nothing more than listening to or reading the news and voting, and that clearly is not enough. Thus, through the sin of inaction most of us are at fault.