RUSH: Get this. This is in the New York Times today. ‘As struggling newspapers across the country cut back on investigative reporting, a new kind of journalism venture is hoping to fill the gap. Paul E. Steiger, who was the top editor of The Wall Street Journal for 16 years, and a pair of wealthy Californians are assembling a group of investigative journalists who will give away their work to media outlets. The nonprofit group, called Pro Publica, will pitch each project to a newspaper or magazine (and occasionally to other media) where the group hopes the work will make the strongest impression. The plan is to do long-term projects, uncovering misdeeds in government, business and organizations.’ This, folks, is a bunch of libs doing this, and this is precisely what journalists have as their creed, anyway: destroy people in power, destroy powerful businesses and people, and get into these organizations that are ‘too powerful,’ find corruption and expose that. Now, all of this happens, of course, only when Republicans occupy the White House and other key positions. It strangely doesn’t happen when Democrats are in charge. No, what happens then is, when the Democrats engage in corruption, like the Clintons’ fundraising scandals in the nineties, the press sits around and marvels at how clever they are. They marvel at how smooth and all that they are able to get away with this kind of stuff. They just marvel at it. But when others, other than friends of Democrats, are in office, why, here come these reports.
Now, the interesting thing here is that this group’s going out and they’re going to act like an outsourcing group. Drive-By Media outlets who are supposedly canceling and cutting back investigative journalists because their profits are down, their circulation is down, their viewership is down. So these guys are going to go pick up the slack and they’re going to give away their work to whoever they think should best have it, project by project. They went and asked Bill Keller at the New York Times about this, and Bill Keller said (paraphrased), ‘Well, we’d look at it. We’re not sure that we can verify what an outside group is doing,’ meaning if it fits our standards of the New York Times, to trash whoever we want trashed, then we’ll damn well return it. ‘Meanwhile, we think we’ll focus on our in-house efforts here at destroying our enemies ourselves.’ Now, the interesting thing behind this — I guess there’s two things to me. One, this group, Pro Publica, for some reason, is obviously upset with all of its associates and colleagues and the rest of the Drive-Bys. They’re not doing enough destruction out there. They can’t get us out of Iraq. They can’t get Bush out of the White House, can’t get Bush impeached or any of this. So this group thinks they gotta step in and do it. The second thing is, if they think the reason people aren’t reading newspapers as they used to and they think people aren’t watching network news as often as they used to, is because they dropped investigative reporters, they have no clue why it is they’re losing circulation, ad revenue, and audience.
Zilch, zero, nada! It is precisely due to their content. They’re predictable. Everybody now knows, or a vast majority now knows what you’re going to get when you open a New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, or what have you. There are rare exceptions where we get surprised like the Post editorial yesterday, but other than that, it’s as predictable as it can be. It’s one-sided, under the precedence of being nonbiased or unbiased. Content, content, content. Content is king, and these guys are losing, as the Sanchez story illustrates. Half of what he said was not even reported on! So it’s left to us, in the new media, to clean up this mess, this Drive-By mess that was left by the roadside over the weekend. So now this outsource group is going to be producing these projects and putting these projects of investigative journalism together and offering them to other news outlets for free.
So who are the moneybags behind this? I haven’t read the story all the way through. I know they’re Democrats. I just don’t have their names. Is Ron Burkle one of them? Sandler, some guy named Sandler? But they’re Californians, and this is just another version of Media Matters for America. Also this is a sort of an indictment about media. There’s an interesting paragraph in here about that. ‘Nothing quite like it has been attempted,’ says the New York Times, ‘and despite having a lot going for it, Pro Publica will be something of an experiment, inventing its practices by trial and error. It remains to be seen how well it can attract talent and win the cooperation of the mainstream media.’ Come on! Give me a break. Media Matters has ‘won the cooperation of mainstream media’ with lies and smears. It’s a cinch! Media Matters has shown these guys how to do it. It’s just too bad they’re not going to be making any money from it — at least at the outset.
RUSH: Here’s who it is that’s funding this Pro Publica bunch. [From American Thinker:] ‘Herb and Marion Sandler, legendary capitalist multi-billionaire builders of a financial empire, and philanthropic allies of Peter Lewis and George Soros, are ponying up $10 million a year for a charitable venture to supply investigative reporting at no cost to newspapers, which are laying off editorial employees (and others) as their business model becomes obsolete. Efforts are being made to wrap this nascent propaganda venture in the cloak of pure public interest.’ Pro Publica, it’s a Latin name. Does it not sound like something a bunch of socialists would come up with? Pro Publica. ‘The board comprises a distinguished multi-ethnic panel that even includes a white male former Republican Congressman, Jim Leach of Iowa. Former Wall Street Journal editor Paul Steiger is in charge (for the time being). No doubt there will be window-dressing stories going after subjects who could be described as ‘liberal’ in some sense,’ just to show that they’re balanced and so forth, but that will be just at the outset here.
Thomas Lifson and Ed Lasky at the American Thinker say, ‘But given the background of the holders of its purse strings, there is reason to suspect the venture will be used to go after opponents of the Left. Even Jane Mayer of the New Yorker described them and their circle as ‘hard core partisans.’ And the Sandlers are famous/celebrated/notorious for their policy of not spending a penny without getting their money’s worth and more. The venture will hire up to 24 journalists, and pay salaries and benefits comparable to the biggest newspapers,’ which, in essence, you know what this is, a safety net for some of these journalists who have been canned or who have been let go. So the same journalists who weren’t doing their jobs in the first place are now going to get hired to not do their jobs as well as they have been. The whole thing is a ruse and it’s a tax dodge. It’s giving away its work. It’s a tax dodge for these donors. ‘No longer tethered to the responsibility of earning their way in the marketplace, this talent pool can be turned loose on potentially anyone. If you look hard enough, you can find all sorts of difficult-to-explain matters that, at a minimum can tie up and distract even the most innocent paragon of virtue. For real people, born as sinners, there is always something you can find.’
I tell you people, the way to deal with this, I’ve always said it, I don’t know anybody who’s doing it, but maybe I should found Pro Destroya and get a bunch of people willing to do investigative journalism on these investigative journalists. You know, anti-Publica. Who are these people that get to act as though they are sin-free; that they are clean and pure as the wind-driven snow; that they have no skeletons in their closet. They can go out, dig up dirt — and everybody’s got dirt — they can go out and dig whatever up, and then they can slant it and taint it, smear it, lie about it, do whatever they want, and nobody examines who these people are. And if you try, (doing Drive-By imitation) ‘Well, we’re journalists, we’re immune, you can’t treat us the way you treat other people.’ I’ve had journalists tell me this. ‘Well, we’re journalists.’ Why are you immune? Why are you immune to the same kind of destructive reporting and behavior that you dish out?
I’ve practiced it once. I am not going to tell you the story because I don’t want to give it away, and I would have to mention names, and I’m not going to mention names, but there was a cover story on me coming out in one of the big news magazines, and it was going to totally mischaracterize me and what I do and how I do it, and we found out who was writing it, and made a couple phone calls to the person writing it, and we said, ‘You know what? We’re going to find out where your kids go to school. We’re going to find out who you knocked up in high school. We’re going to find out what drugs you used. We’re going to find out where you go to drink and we’re going to find out how you paid for your house, and we’re going to say that you are no different than Al Goldstein. You both masturbate. You’re no different than Al Goldstein and you’re both journalists and so forth.’ The guy started screaming on the phone, just went nuts, ‘You can’t do that!’ We said, ‘Watch us.’ And it changed the tone of the story by about 60%, I would say, from what it was going to be. But nobody does this to these people. Nobody does it to them, and that would be so much fun. But I’d need to be wearing body armor every day. Oh, no question. These people are playing for keeps now.
They’ve lost their monopoly and they’re fed up. That’s why you’ve got all these philanthropists bankrolling news ventures now, George Soros and Hillary and Media Matters. See, liberalism, folks, cannot flourish without a monopoly, because any challenge to it, any valid challenge, any opposite point of view that forces liberalism on the defense makes it bad for them because the whole thing, all of liberalism, is a lie; it’s a disease.