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PRWatch on the Franklin Center: How the right wing is now funding state "news" sites

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 10:05 PM
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PRWatch on the Franklin Center: How the right wing is now funding state "news" sites
Basically Faux News at the state level...

Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source
Submitted by Sara Jerving on October 27, 2011 - 8:00am

As newsrooms across the country shave off staff due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, is rushing to fill the gap. The group has 43 state news websites, with writers in over 40 states. Its reporters have been given state house press credentials and its news articles are starting to appear in mainstream print newspapers in each state. Who funds Franklin and what is its agenda?

The websites started sprouting up in 2009. Some of these new sites go by the moniker "Reporter" as with the Franklin Center's Wisconsin Reporter that was launched in January as a website and wire-like service. Others have taken the shared name of "," or "Statehouse News." The websites all offer their content free to local press -- many of the news bureaus send out their articles to state editors every day. The sites also offer free national stories that media can receive daily by subscribing.


Much of the Franklin Center's funding comes from the Sam Adams Alliance, whose CEO had worked for an AFP-predecessor group of David Koch's. The funding of the Sam Adams Alliance is mostly from the State Policy Network, which gets its funding from the right-wing Claude R. Lambe Foundation, whose board consists of Charles Koch, his wife and childen, and a Koch employee.

There's a connection to ALEC, too, which is all too predictable:

At the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual conference in New Orleans, The Franklin Center was listed as a "Vice-Chairman" level sponsor of the ALEC conference. In 2010, this equated to a gift of at least $25,000. It was also one of about 60 companies and institutions represented in the conference exhibition hall. ALEC brings corporations, such as Koch Industries, and state legislators together in task forces to vote on so-called model legislation that benefits the corporate bottom line or ALEC's ideological agenda. These bills are then introduced by legislators in state houses across the country, without any mention that corporations previously approved such legislation behind closed doors, as the Center for Media and Democracy has reported.

Writers who want to work for Franklin Center "news" sites have to answer an application that asks such ideological questions as "How do free markets help the poor?" and "Do higher taxes lead to balanced budgets?"

This PRWatch article lists some of the very questionable "journalism" from the Franklin Center, including a badly misreported Wisconsin poll earlier this year -- see these two TPM stories on the poll and its source:

More on the Franklin Center from PRWatch:

Dave Zweifel, co-founder and long-serving president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, and editor of the Madison-based Capital Times, told the Center for Media and Democracy that the Wisconsin Reporter is a new breed of news reporting. "Of course, many news organizations are owned by corporations or supported by politically active donors, but most keep a hands off approach when it comes to covering the news," he said. "This outfit masks itself as an investigative journalism service that provides free content to newspapers, many of which are cash-strapped these days, and eager for such a product.... You have to give these guys credit for capturing the moment when the press is particularly vulnerable."
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 10:08 PM
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1. Damn good post! ... Recommended
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:04 PM
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