The Austin American-Statesman Isn’t Interested in Who Funds Groups It Cites as Sources
July 25, 2012 - 8:35 am
Today the Austin American-Statesman (formerly the Austin Democrat-Statesman) runs with a piece hammering a University of Texas researcher who conducted a study on fracking and found that the practice does not contaminate ground water. The story focuses on the researcher’s potential conflict of interest, since he also sits on the board and owns stock in a company that engages in fracking.
But the Statesman does not take any time to look at the group doing the accusing. It quotes them as a “nonprofit” watchdog, implying that they are on the side of the angels.
“The report was presented as if it was an independent study of fracking when, in fact, the study was led by a gas industry insider,” said Kevin Connor, the director of the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative in Buffalo, N.Y., which reported the researcher’s role Monday.
What is the Public Accountability Initiative? You won’t learn much about them from Farzad Mashhood, who wrote the Statesman’s story. You’ll only learn that the group’s director claims to believe in public disclosure.
“What is really important here is that when you’re pushing a report out the way the University of Texas pushed this report out … there is public disclosure,” Connor said.
In the interests of public disclosure, the Public Accountability Initiative is a leftwing outfit run by activists including a few on its board who haven’t even finished college yet. Co-Director Kevin Connor, quoted in the Statesman story, has written for Alternet and The American Prospect, both leftwing publications. They are funded in part by the Sunlight Foundation, which is in turn funded in part by the Open Society Institute. That’s George Soros, the billionaire and convicted inside trader. George Soros is far from non-partisan, he is an extremely powerful advocate and funding source for a wide range of groups that all promote leftwing policies. From the Center for American Progress and its idiot sidekick Think Progress to the far left rabble World Can’t Wait, you will find Soros money if you bother to look. Hardly any mainstream reporters ever do.
The Public Accountability Initiative is not the non-partisan watchdog that the Statesman makes it out to be. It works with progressive outfits like the Campaign for America’s Future. PAI works with the occupy-affiliated National People’s Action group. A few minutes of research on Mashhood’s part could have tipped him that the group accusing the UT researcher has its own partisan axes to grind. The fact of the matter, though, is that Mashhood probably knows exactly what the PAI is all about, but doesn’t care. Neither do his editors. If they did, the facts about PAI would have shown up in his story, or there may not have been a story at all.
When it comes to looking into connections and backgrounds, the mainstream media is consistently one-sided. Reporters will diligently look for connections to impeach anyone who goes against the left’s conventional wisdoms, as Mashhood and the PAI have done in this story, but will look the other way when leftwing connections become relevant. I know this from personal experience, having tried for months to get the state media in Texas to report that “watchdog” Lone Star Project is really just another leftwing partisan hit squad. I literally handed dossiers on these groups to reporters when I worked at the Texas GOP, only to have them not write one single word about Matt Angle and his well-financed web of influence. So I had to write the story myself.
Every state has these groups, which pose as non-partisan while taking money and marching orders from the likes of George Soros. The mainstream media never ever shows any interest in what those connections mean to the groups’ activities and agendas.