BY KEEAN BEXTE
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has doled out over $319 million in grants, awards, and charity to media organizations, including $38 million to so-called “investigative journalism” centres.
According to Mint Press News (MPN), which sorted through over 30,000 documents, Bill Gates has given roughly $38 million to investigate journalism centres aimed at training journalists. Of this sum, over $20 million has gone to the International Center for Journalists, which “builds the expertise and digital skills journalists need to deliver trustworthy news essential for vibrant societies.”
The generous donations given to the ICFJ over several years have been given with the express purpose of producing journalists who focus on “data-driven health and development news reports to help African media to better contribute to setting development agendas and furthering public accountability,” according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s website.
Producing health-obsessed investigative journalists is a common trend with Gates.
According to the Foundation’s website, the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism received its grant ($3,800,357) to “support sustained high-quality, evidence-based, and solutions-oriented media coverage of global health and development issues in Primary Health Care systems, Agriculture & Financial Inclusion.”
Other recipients of over $1 million include The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting ($2,432,552) to “support editorial projects focused on global health issues,” Fondation EurActiv Politech ($2,368,300), International Women’s Media Foundation ($1,500,000), Center for Investigative Reporting – $1,446,639, InterMedia Survey institute ($1,297,545), and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism ($1,068,169).
Put simply, it appears Bill Gates wants to install a personal army of professional scrutineers in various media outlets that disseminate his position on healthcare and propaganda about public officials who deviate.
Gates also, of course, funds the journalism programs of several universities, including Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, the University of California Berkeley, Tsinghua University, Seattle University, Rhodes University, and Montclair State University.
Harvard University (of which Gates is a dropout), the University of Southern California, Boston University, and Ahmadu Bello University have also received money from Gates’ Foundation to take on various media projects.
Producing new journalists isn’t the only area in media that Gates is focusing on, though. He also targets experienced journalists in legacy media organizations. According to MPN’s report, a total of $166.2 million has been given to well-known legacy media organizations.
“The money is generally directed towards issues close to the Gateses hearts. For example, the $3.6 million CNN grant went towards “report[ing] on gender equality with a particular focus on least developed countries, producing journalism on the everyday inequalities endured by women and girls across the world,” while the Texas Tribune received millions to “to increase public awareness and engagement of education reform issues in Texas.” Given that Bill is one of the charter schools’ most fervent supporters, a cynic might interpret this as planting pro-corporate charter school propaganda into the media, disguised as objective news reporting,” reports MPN.
Just over one decade ago, Bill Gates was under fire for his attempt to control the media through spread-out donations, but this fire seems to have flickered out until recently.
“Beyond their subject matter, these [health report stories] have something else in common: They were all bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” the Seattle Times wrote in 2011.
“Better-known for its battles against global disease, the giant philanthropy has also become a force in journalism.”
“The foundation’s grants to media organizations such as ABC and The Guardian, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, raise obvious conflict-of-interest questions: How can reporting be unbiased when a major player holds the purse strings?”
Unsurprisingly, the Seattle Times and the Blethen Corporation do not appear to have ever received money from Bill Gates.