Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Transparency for Thee...

We love to slag on the Minnesota Monitor. Most of the time it's fun at the expense of one of their more incompetent and dull-witted "reporters." But we rip mostly because they are a paid propaganda arm of the Democratian Party (not in actuality, but de facto), who try to sell themselves off as a legitimate news source. This is a legitimate enough reason for scrutiny in it's own right, because: 1) being a group of ideologues and activists, they will tend to be very careful in reporting only those "facts" that help their cause; and 2) their insistence that they are "professional" "journalists" with a "code" of "ethics" might tend to fool the casual reader into thinking that they're getting the whole story and/or an accurate reflection of the truth of the matter.

So we, and others, take whacks at their cred whenever the opportunity presents itself.

But one of the more amusing ongoing themes is Mitch Berg's persistent queries as to where their money comes from (they have a stable of "reporters" who earn stipends, each with access to Lexis/Nexis, which ain't cheap). Mitch even has boilerplate language he includes in most posts about MinnMon, for example:

We conservative bloggers give the Minnesota Monitor a hard time. As has been amply observed by many local center-right bloggers, the MinMon is supported by the “Center for Independent Media”, which until fairly recently shared offices with “Media Matters for America”. MM4A is a George Soros-funded attack PR firm associated with an awful lot of gutless attack-flakkery; in addition to carrying on a high-profile campaign of smearing conservative commentators (often swerving into overt racism, sexism, anti-semitism and a lot of other “isms” that, were MM4A a conservative organization, wouldn’t pass unnoticed and unassailed.

The Center for Independent Media pays a group of local bloggers a fairly fat stipend, by blogging standards, to write for the Minnesota Monitor. One must, on the surface, give the CIM and the Monitor some points for at least trying to put up a good appearance; they bandy their “Code of Ethics” about with giggly abandon. I think it’s fair to say that some of their “journalists” make a game effort to try to meet that “code”; an examination of Minnesota Monitor’s coverage shows that the “code” gets ignored when convenient. And while questions have been raised about CIM’s funding, they’ve never revealed anything - although the phrase “liberals with deep pockets” has slipped out in informal conversation.

Well, wonder no longer! While MinnMon and CIM aren't forthcoming about their sources of income, at least we now know where $100,000 of it came from:

$100,000 to the Center for Independent Media. This grant will support the Center's efforts to strengthen its New Journalist Program by establishing a national branch in Washington, DC. The fellowship program, with operations currently in Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa, mentors and trains state-based political news bloggers in investigative reporting with the aim of creating a robust corps of citizen journalists to add diversity and local expertise to media coverage of important issues. Fellows serving in the New Journalist Washington DC Program will focus their coverage on Congress, federal agencies, the presidency, Supreme Court and the influence of lobbying, the national press corps and campaign finance.

From the Sunlight Foundation! And what is the Sunlight Foundation's raison d'etre?

Transparency! In government!

In fact, the $100,000 CIM received from these people, is called a *snort* *snicker* "Transparency Grant".

Oh! Look here! The sunlight Foundation also gave a "transparency Grant" to our old pal CREW (same link as above):

$117,000 to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The first grant of $117,000 went to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to fund the launch of its Open Community Open Document Review System. (Expect to see it around the end of March.) CREW has developed a demonstration version of an online reviewing process that enables people across the internet to review, tag and comment on any of the thousands of pages of documents they have in their possession. They are hoping to build a massive publicly searchable database of every document they receive. Sunlight's grant will allow them to upgrade the hardware and database infrastructure to handle all the documents, to add new software features to make it easier to usem [sic] and to manage and grow a community of regular online contributors.

Remember CREW? That organization that tries to enforce Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Republicans)? Where have we seen them before? Or today?

So if we're going to be subjected to left-wingers pooping out their propaganda under the gloss of legitimacy while trying to sue their way into power (because they're unsure of their ability to do it via the ballot box), doesn't the public have the right to know who's ponying up, and who's pulling the strings?

After all, it's all about "transparency," right?

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