No Strings Attached? How U.S. funding of the world press corps may be buying influence

Dandelion Salad

By Jeremy Bigwood
http://www.inthesetimes.com
June 4, 2008

Domestic propaganda campaigns like the “Pentagon Pundits” fiasco have been exposed and decried. Mainstream media outlets hired high-ranking military officers to provide “analysis” about the war in Iraq. Turns out they had ties to military contractors with a vested interest in continuing the war.

Below the radar, another journalism scandal is brewing: the U.S. government is secretly funding foreign news outlets and journalists. Government bodies — including the State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP) — support “media development” in more than 70 countries. In These Times has found that these programs include funding hundreds of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), journalists, policy-makers, journalist associations, media outlets, training institutes and academic journalism faculties. Grant sizes can range from a few thousand to millions of dollars.

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