This is a great topic - thank you. The nature of actual conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict of interest, and finally, burnishing one's image remains a sticky wicket. The Koch Brothers and every cultural institution/medical center in New York is an apt example of polishing things up while doing destructive things with your other hand. And the list is never-ending of tainted donors through history. Journalistic non-profits are in a particularly difficult position. Is there a 'Chinese wall' (there must be a better term for that) between the newsroom and the donors - suuuuuuure there is. In medicine, we must disclose the conflicts of interest at the end of every journal article but how does that really help? How is a reader supposed to interpret that conflict - exactly how much do you discount what is said? Re: Donors and News non-profits - It would be best to have a central donor pool that was then re-distributed to non-profits in some way 'dis-attached' from the source but that will never happen because that is not why most donors give.

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Dec 12, 2022·edited Dec 12, 2022

Over the past few years nonprofits have clearly demonstrated they’re willing to take money from anyone and not ask questions about it. Why should we be surprised that media organizations are no different.

Universities and other organizations were eager to accept donations from Jeffrey Epstein with no concern for his sex trafficking. For example the bulk of Epstein's donations to MIT — $750,000 of $850,000 — came after his 2008 guilty plea. Of course they all claim not to have known or even suspected.

Now you have media whose job it is to ask questions and be suspicious claiming “we didn’t know” and “it’s not our job to ask questions or pass judgment..” Really?

Did nobody really suspect SBF was running a Ponzi scheme in an unregulated industry that had already proven itself ripe for fraud and corruption?

I get it that many journalists and investors were dazzled by the idea of being part of the “next big thing.” Sometimes you don’t know because at some point you decided not to ask the right questions.

And getting large sums of money when you need it does tend to dull curiosity about the source and motivation for the giving of that money.

Also the idea that as you say media shouldn’t be “…screening donors (or advertisers, including in the for profit legacy news business) for some sort of moral test” is at odds with history and how the business works. Every news organization has somebody they won’t accept from money from.

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Dick, I just found out Pro Publica got 5 million dollars. Vanity Fair got $5M for ONE Covid vaccine article debunking spontaneous post -jab deaths. The Trusted News Service (clever name) which was set up to debunk Covid "misinformation" included a guy on the Thomson Reuters board, AND Pfizer. Pro Publica got owned. And you know it.

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He invested in the pre-seed round of Semafor, too.

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Nice little trick there, Mr. Tofel. It's not the media's moral or fiduciary responsibility to know where the money comes from, to vet the donor. Why would a MEDIA ORGANIZATION be responsible for doing a little basic investigation? Boy, did this guy see you guys coming. He played on your need, and your moral vanity, setting himself up as a do-gooder, and well, that's exactly how the media sees itself. Slaying the bad guys, promoting the good guys. Because stupid readers are, well, stupid. And here's the beauty part, you and your readers/subscribers can accept money from a con artist running a ponzi scheme and STILL encourage actual businesses selling things people want or need to boycott IDEAS you and they don't like--say, for instance, Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, and the full-throated push on advertisers to abandon the free speech movement. Are you feeling ANY shame that some of your friends and colleagues in the press continue to support the collapse of Twitter, despite the fact that he has revealed the symbiotic relationship Twitter had with the Biden administration and the FBI's To Do List of spiking stores and canceling people who might be onto their dirty work?

It's not YOUR job to know whether this chunk of money came from a Nazi (the left's favorite boogeyman) or a pedophile or a sex trafficker like Jeffrey Epstein. Transactional morality. Good to know.

Pro Public to American businesses, investors and voters: "Drop dead."

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