According to the Washington Post, the Ford Foundation has given the newspaper some $500,000 to hire four new staff – a lucrative $125,000 per job deal. The goal: to try “new approaches to preserve and advance high-quality journalism.” The four new positions will “work on special projects related to money, politics and government … The one-year-grant – with an agreement in principal for two additional years – is part of the Foundation’s Freedom of Expression program, an initiative aimed at promoting journalism in the public interest.” The Ford Foundation recently handed $1 million to the Los Angeles Times to cover “Vietnamese, Korean and other immigrant communities, the California prison system, the border region and Brazil.”
As newspapers like the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times lose readers hand over fist, they’re moving more and more toward a non-profit form of journalism, supported by donors rather than by subscribers. The problem, of course, is that these nonprofit organizations quickly and easily turn into boycott-proof attack wings of the Democratic Party, as with Media Matters. Since they’re not responsive to market conditions, their failure to report news accurately no longer matters; they become the plaything of whomever signs non-profit checks.
When it comes to the notoriously biased Post and Times, however, that’s always been the case. Both newspapers are essentially tools of the Obama administration – the Los Angeles Times has refused to hand over tapes of Barack Obama purportedly making radical anti-Israel statements at an event for his good friend, former PLO spokesperson Rashid Khalidi; the Post runs hit pieces against Mitt Romney on behalf of Obama routinely.
More and more newspapers that prefer their liberalism to their marketability will now embrace this model. And with groups like the Ford Foundation (also a funder of Media Matters) there to sign them checks, journalism is likely to break down into non-profit lefties and profit-driven conservative outlets.