In an extraordinary and extraordinarily blithe announcement, the Associated Press admits it will take money from the Rockefeller Foundation and others in order to peddle climate alarmism as news. In a press release issued by (not to) a “news” organization and flagged by Marc Morano at Climate Depot, “The Associated Press said Tuesday that it is assigning more than two dozen journalists across the world to cover climate issues, in the news organization’s largest single expansion paid for through philanthropic grants.” Which won’t actually change the content much, to be frank, so to some extent it’s an overdue exercise in labeling of ingredients. But there was a time when they would have thought it needed to be hidden. Now it’s a boast: AP Deputy Managing Editor Sarah Nordgren chortled: “This initiative, with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation and others, will enable us to closely examine efforts to cope with climate change, both the problems it poses and its potential solutions.”
Journalistic standards? Avoiding the appearance of bias? Hoo hah. Senior AP official Brian Carovillano said “he’s noticed a difference in morale in his organization because of the growth achieved through new funding. ‘I think it has changed the mindset of the newsroom a little bit,’ he said. ‘After years of basically feeling a little beleaguered, people are proud that they’re part of an organization that is dreaming really big and actually has the ability to do it.’” In short, your journalists have no compunction about taking money to do pro-climate-alarmist journalism. Perhaps because they already were.
Indeed we are struck by Carovillano’s job title: AP head of “investigations, enterprise, grants and partnerships.” So the guy in charge of investigative journalism is also in charge of finding money and donor partnerships. Well that explains it.
Sadly this decision won’t in all probability change much given how so many outlets cover the issue already. For instance the New York Times “Climate Fwd.”, which did not just announce it was going on the take in a major way, also just said “Before we get to the news this week, we wanted to tell you about some changes we’re making to the Climate Fwd: newsletter — changes meant to help make sense of the climate crisis and what it means for you. Starting next month, Climate Fwd: will be delivered twice a week instead of once. And, Somini Sengupta, the Times’s global climate correspondent, will be your new guide to the latest news and ideas as the newsletter’s lead writer. Please stay tuned for more.” And then hit us with “Taking aim at environmental racism, without mentioning race” which had us staying tuned for less and begging them to return to the once-a-week schedule right away.
If we were feeling catty we would remind readers that Ms. Sengupta is lead author on this key file armed with a undergraduate degree in “English and Development Studies”. Which doesn’t even sound like one thing although in the woke stew all the ingredients do seem to taste remarkably similar. But just how prepared is she, or folks at AP, to filter out the nonsense from the good sense in what they’re been spoon- or wallet-fed by their fellow alarmists? Which is sort of what you hope journalists do instead of a press release and three phone calls to friendly experts who say and then a lurid headline.
It also won’t change things much because so many news outlets depend on AP for copy, it being a wire service not an independent direct-to-customer news outfit. They boast that “The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business.” But the word “independent” does not seem to mean in 2022 what it did in 1846. Not even close.
Of course if you’re going to filter out nonsense you have to want to as well as be able to. Which is where financial relationships become especially problematic. When one of us was inexplicably hired at a newspaper years ago, to write opinion, one maxim the editor impressed upon us in his jovially terrifying way was “Readers must know what’s for sale in a newspaper and what is not.” And mercifully, our Opinion section was off-limits. We didn’t even run ads there, and we heard from the publisher about what a reasonable opinion would be on some issue roughly once every 18 months. The rest of the time, our idiocy was our own.
Over at AP, it’s no longer true. And they’re not even embarrassed.