Can Media Be Independent if It Accepts US Funding?

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the Biden administration has asked Congress for $236 million to support “independent media” around the globe.

Antony Blinken. (State Dept. screenshot)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the opening of the virtual Summit for Democracy on Wednesday that the U.S. government would support independent international journalism.

“We’ll make the biggest contribution by any government to the recently launched International Fund for Public Interest Media, an innovative new initiative that provides assistance to at-risk independent news outlets,” Blinken said.

He said the U.S. would also create a “liability fund” to support “reporters and news organizations that are targeted with litigation as a result of their reporting.” And the U.S. Agency for International Development, a known C.I.A. front, will launch a “Media Viability Accelerator … to make independent press outlets more sustainable, focusing on data sharing, technical assistance and financial services.”

But the only amount Blinken spoke about was a Biden administration budget request to support “independent journalism.”

“These new efforts will come atop the $236 million dollars President Biden has requested in the 2022 budget to support independent media around the globe — a more than 40 percent increase on the amount allotted in 2020,” said Blinken.

What can go wrong? This is like the State Department funding so-called non-governmental organizations making them in effect governmental NGOs. Media that accept U.S. government funds, whatever the strings attached, become dependent independent media, prone to self-censorship to keep the money flowing.

It seems the U.S. may well be nervous about the growing influence of real independent media and feel a need to co-opt it, if it doesn’t throw independent journalists in jail like Julian Assange.

Government money has zero place in independent journalism.

Consortium News will forever depend exclusively on our readers and remain independent media– and not in name only.

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20 comments for “Can Media Be Independent if It Accepts US Funding?

  1. robert e williamson jr
    December 10, 2021 at 18:35

    This is past it’s past ludicrous it’s not comical, it is pathetic and sickening, these idiots are serious.

    I’m seventy-two years old and I watch these people legions of political officals, Female & Male (male & female wtfe) talk and they project 1950’s American ideals all too often, more proof that in the case of our government officials we are in big big trouble. The fifties got us to where we are now, { JFK elected 1961 murdered 1963 }.

    AOC may not be your cup of tea politically but look around, if you are my age or older, even a few years younger, this country no longer needs or should cater to mine and your beliefs. Politicians who travel the same tried and true road are headed for a train wreck. Time for new talent. Clear minded analytical talent.

    Our issues will grow, our power and wealth fade, not for some individuals but our country and we masses. We have no reason to be surprised.

    Have we actually gotten ourselves another POTUS this out of touch? Seems to me we have. If he signed off on this “Summit” and is on board with Bilken’s funding of an independent press he has been outed already.
    Unconscionable, considering Julian Assange and his manufactured legal issues.

    Govmnt says CPI up 6.2% in November, Joe says it’s a bump in the road insinuating prices will fall or even more unlikely wages will out pace inflation.

  2. Richard Lemieux
    December 9, 2021 at 19:21

    The US and its rich sponsors have a propaganda blitz in the making and they need naive media outlets in foreign countries to publish the message. A concealed way of recruiting operatives in “bad” countries like Russia and China. Was the US ever a democracy in the eyes of the Unangan Aleut’s before the 1960’s? The US behaved as badly as Russia did with the Aleuts if one looks at the facts rather than listening to the rhetoric coming from Washington. The US elites and its rich sponsors hide behind the rhetoric of democracy just to disguise their plans of domination. The orcas in the sea do the same with the seals playing with the seal puppies, looking friendly, and then eating them when the puppies follow the orcas in deeper waters.

  3. TimN
    December 9, 2021 at 13:42

    I thought we bottomed out with that imbecile Pompeo, but in some respects Blinken is worse.

  4. Barbara Mullin
    December 9, 2021 at 13:12

    The US would definitely have to bring back the 1948 Smith Mundt Act that it overturned during the Obama Administration which prevented US propaganda in US news. For the US to fund global independent news would be the absolute height of hypocrisy. Do they really think we the people of the world are that dumb?????

  5. bobLich
    December 9, 2021 at 13:06

    This reminds me of NPR. Now known as Neocon Plutocrats Radio.

  6. Jeff Harrison
    December 9, 2021 at 12:58

    Hypocrisy. Tomfoolery. Chicanery. Idiocy. The US government didn’t always control via controlling the $$ but they sure have been for decades now. I’m not sure what the point of this really is. The US government has turned what is called the MSM into government stenographers and mouthpieces. Why should they have to pay cash for it. They’ve already captured the main sources of news in this world: Reuters/AP/NYT. All the little guys just copy and paste from them and they’ve just copied and pasted from government press releases. Only the true independents don’t do that but even if they offered it I doubt that the likes of Wikileaks, CN, Greyzone, etc would take it.

  7. rgl
    December 9, 2021 at 12:03

    No. No it can’t. Every ‘national’ news org has it’s nation’s agenda first and foremost. It matters not if we talk about the US, Canada, Russia, whomever. They will all ‘report’ on national priorities.

    Once independent media accepts US cash, it is no longer independent, and not worthy of – at least my – readership.

  8. Lester D
    December 9, 2021 at 11:50

    At the same time the US Government is spending $100s of millions to “buy” foreign journalists and media organizations it is screaming about the Russians buying some ads on facebook! I’m also thinking about the US Military bombing non-compliant media whenever it gets a chance–think Al-Jazeera during the Serbia War.

  9. Feral Finster
    December 9, 2021 at 10:20

    Reviving Operation Mockingbird, only doing so openly this time.

    John Stockwell, FWIW, stated that as a CIA officer, he routinely fabricated atrocity stories out of whole cloth, complete with fake photos, and fed those stories to pet journalists around the world, with the intent that those stories be reported on by US media outlets. He also stated that the CIA routinely ignored laws ostensibly forbidding them to propagandize US citizens, whenever they felt like it.

    • robert e williamson jr
      December 10, 2021 at 20:17

      Bongo, Bingo, Bango you got it 5 X 5 got CIA prints all over it. that is Global Corporate CIA written all over it.

  10. evelync
    December 9, 2021 at 10:18

    …. the camel getting its nose under the tent…..??

    “A small, seemingly innocuous act or decision that will lead to much larger, more serious, and less desirable consequences down the line. The term refers to an alleged Arab proverb that if a camel is allowed to get its nose inside of a tent, it will be impossible to prevent the rest of it from entering.”

    what’s the quid pro quo?
    easier access to sources and a heads up on who to prosecute before their crimes are exposed?
    packing the place with compromised “journalists”

    their hypocrisy, giving lip service to journalism while persecuting the most courageous and honest of journalists doesn’t engender trust in the public mind….

    this is truly becoming Alice in Wonderland…..

    • rgl
      December 9, 2021 at 12:05

      “what’s the quid pro quo?”

      Money, and access to TPTB.

      • evelync
        December 9, 2021 at 16:05

        yeah – they are too transparent….

        it’s just necessary to remain skeptical to stay alert to it…..

        because, after all, they’re punishing Assange and other whistleblowers because it’s us that they want to keep in the dark.
        And they’re angry at being exposed to us.
        Therefore they are showing their disdain and distrust of us, the people in this country.

        We are the true object of their machinations to hide the truth – the whistleblowers just suffer for it….

  11. Piotr Berman
    December 9, 2021 at 10:16

    Wikipedia has a term needed here: GONGO
    A government-organized non-governmental organization (GONGO) is a non-governmental organization that was set up or sponsored by a government in order to further its political interests and mimic the civic groups and civil society at home, or promote its international or geopolitical interests abroad.

    GONGO are widely despised by most governments of countries where they operate. E.g. USA puts limits on RT (Russia Today) etc., and Russia may declare some organization to be GONGOs (they have a different term) and limit and even ban its activity.

    In short, USA proudly support exactly the type of activity that it hates when conducted at home. Even more, like many other governments, our government accuses actually independent organizations to be GONGO. On the bright side, GONGO wars are at least potentially less bloody. As in all wars, two principles are paramount (1) our people are marvelous and innocent (2) their people are despicable etc.

    • Piotr Berman
      December 9, 2021 at 10:20

      It would do some good if USA recognized that GONGO are much more effective that military actions, so for every dollar budgeted for GONGOs they should subtract 10-100 dollars from the Pentagon. Alas, right now it is government organized toxic waste (GOTOW?).

      • robert e williamson jr
        December 10, 2021 at 17:41

        “A government-organized non-governmental organization (GONGO) is a non-governmental organization that was set up or sponsored by a government in order to further its political interests and mimic the civic groups and civil society at home or promote its international or geopolitical interests abroad.”

        So let me get this straight, these orgs are used internationally by various nations, and chucked full global of politics.

        I guess that could explain quite a lot of what has happened globally since the middle late 1980’s. Sounds like something 41 and his band of outlaws came up with at CIA to me.

        Piotr nobody needs any more of the U.S. interfering in what they do at home. Th U.S. record is dismal here, unless of course the home country is Israel or Saudi Arabia.

  12. December 9, 2021 at 09:53

    Wow, this is as Orwellian as it gets. Silencing contrary perspectives by drowning them with money in the name of “democracy”. Hypocrisy uber alles and all hail corruption. Wonder how Hunter and Jimmy get cut in for their share, perhaps Hunter will abandon the art world to become an international journalist. Meanwhile Julian Assange languishes, … in the name of democracy.

  13. Tony
    December 9, 2021 at 08:32

    No, it cannot. But we are better off if we know about it rather than it is done covertly.

  14. Clive
    December 9, 2021 at 08:06

    “He said the U.S. would also create a “liability fund” to support “reporters and news organizations that are targeted with litigation as a result of their reporting.”” – Does that include Julian Assange and Wikileaks?

    • robert e williamson jr
      December 10, 2021 at 17:04

      Clive much respect for you comment here.

      As long as CIA pulls the strings that run the white house and congress nothing will fundamentally change the U.S. foreign policy.

      “Clive” makes an excellent point with his comment on “a liability fund” to support reporters . . . ”

      I have a warning for everyone, never under any circumstances trust the promises from evil doers. A summit for democracy, with the opener of supporting an independent media. He really can’t be serious can he?

      President Joe Biden I for one will start taking your BS much more seriously if you would do the Christian thing and thinking of your supporters and other “good people” as you call them at times, release Julian and give the optimists of the world an early Christmas present.

      Remember the question Christians are fond of posing, “What would Jesus do?”. Do some good Uncle Joe, please do some good.

      I take Bliken’s statement about a “liability fund” at face value and with maybe a hint of contriteness because if he is choosing to ignore the Assange situation all I can say to him and his boss is they both pompous assholes.

      POTUS JOE you are killing those of us out here willing to be reasonable.

      Thaks CN

Comments are closed.