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Tracing the Fake News Money Trail

How Billionaire Globalists are paying to put far-left propaganda in Ohio's Mainstream Newsrooms
By Garth Kant
October 18, 2023
On The Record

You might be surprised to learn that woke billionaires George Soros and Bill Gates, and other rich leftists, are paying journalists to write fake news about Ohio politics. 

And that a Cleveland television station and the biggest newspaper in the state have agreements to spread  this fake news.

Communications Director John Fortney introduced us to some of these tentacles of the Soros-Gates octopus last week in his story, “Legacy Loss.”

Here's how it works – the fake news money trail in 5 steps:

Rich donors >  Arabella Advisors  >  Hopewell Fund  >  States Newsrooms  >  Capital Journal > MSM outlets in Ohio 

Here are the details on those groups:

1) Woke billionaires Soros and Gates, the Ford Foundation, and other far-left sugar daddies pour billions into an umbrella group called Arabella.

Far-left funders have donated $6.5 billion since 2006 to the radical for-profit consultancy group Arabella Advisors

George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society dumped $36 million in 2021 alone into the Arabella network’s flagship nonprofit, the New Venture Fund

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated at least $490 million to Arabella between 2008 and 2022. The uber-liberal Ford Foundation granted $26.7 million to the New Venture Fund in 2021.

2) Arabella manages numerous organizations serving as its far-reaching tentacles, one of which is a nonprofit group called Hopewell.

The Hopewell Fund is one of five radical leftist nonprofit organizations managed by Arabella Advisors. The others are the New Venture Fund, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the Windward Fund, and the North Fund.

Hopewell runs a media network pushing far-left political activism disguised as philanthropy. 

Hopewell also sponsors numerous fake groups designed to look like grass roots efforts by citizens to push radical leftist positions on hot-button issues such as abortion, healthcare, climate, universal income, and various “social justice” causes.

Projects supported by Arabella’s big bucks include efforts to defund police, remove police from schools, abolish bail, promote abortion and repeal laws requiring parental consent, criminalize free speech (the Dangerous Speech Project), and help Democrats gerrymander redistricting maps (especially by lawfare.)  

They also fund various projects promoting “social justice,” “culturally affirming social-emotional learning,” “ethnic studies,” “reproductive justice,” and “gender justice,” among other “progressive” agenda items...without much definition of what those buzz words mean or description of what these projects actually do.

3) Hopewell funds a woke network they call States Newsrooms. Those “newsrooms” are seeded around the country as a way to push woke propaganda as though it is real news.

Arabella and Hopewell created left-wing fake news sites (called the Newsroom Network) to pour “millions of untraceable dollars into advertisements and other digital content masquerading as news coverage to influence the 2020 election” in favor of the Democrats.

The Newsroom Network became the States Newsroom in 2019 and obtained non-profit status. It still consists of a number of radical left media outlets. But now it is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit, meaning it is not required to disclose the donors who keep it afloat. 

However, “A financial statement in the IRS records obtained by OpenSecrets shows that the States Newsroom (planned) to bring in more than $27 million in contributions before the end of 2021.”

4) The States Newsroom tentacle in Ohio is called The Capital Journal. 

The Ohio Capital Journal is our state’s affiliate of the States Newsroom.  

As Fortney noted, the Ohio Capital Journal is managed by a former Ohio Democratic Party communications staffer, David DeWitt, who also wrote for the far-left social media attack blog Plunderbund. (Merriam-Webster defines plunderbund as "a league of commercial, political, or financial interests that exploits the public.")

5) The Journal’s stories are inserted into the MSM by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and WEWS-TV. 

Ohio Capital Journal’s news stories run in MSM outlets like the websites run by the Plain Dealer (cleveland.com) and WEWS-TV (the ABC television affiliate in Cleveland.)  

And that's one way the rich radical leftists infiltrate our state’s MSM with their woke propaganda.

On its “About Us” page, the Journal's website declares, “The Capital Journal is free of advertising and free to readers.” That is because it is “supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers.” Those would be the grants and coalition of donors described above: woke billionaires and their fellow travelers.

Here are some of the pieces currently on the Capital Journal’s commentary page:

·       Ohio Republicans work to politicize our schools, destroy power of elected state school board

·       Ohio voters can expect to get hosed again by gerrymandering in upcoming redistricting charade

·       We are facing a sustained, historic assault on democracy in Ohio and across America

Radical leftist sentiments, for sure. But not unlike what you might find regularly in most of Ohio’s MSM outlets, including the Plain Dealer and WEWS-TV. 

When the Plain Dealer re-publishes one of those stories it puts the words “Ohio Capital Journal” next to the author’s byline and adds a note at the end of the piece, reading: “The Ohio Capital Journal is an independent, nonprofit news organization that is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit.” 



When WEWS publishes one, it adds the note: The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on New5Cleveland.com under a content-sharing agreement.

Samplings on the WEWS website include:

“Economists: Abortion protections will lead to better outcomes for Ohio women.” Better outcomes for the babies?  Not so much. The article actually offered the advice that kids are cheaper to discard than to raise: “...a majority of economists who were surveyed this month said that such rights will improve economic prospects for women — especially those who are poor.”

“After two rejections, is Ohio attorney general slow-walking anti-gerrymandering amendment?” The answer is a flat no – as the writer weakly admits in the second paragraph: “So far, nobody’s explicitly accusing Yost of deliberately slow-walking approval of the anti-gerrymandering amendment, but frustration is growing.”

Samplings on the Plain Dealer’s website include:

“Ohio county government leadership dominated by men,” with the bombshell revelations that “women make up just under 30 percent of county officeholders,” and, “only three Ohio counties have an all-female commission.”  Not exactly the Handmaid’s Tale.

“Ohio Auditor Keith Faber floats theory of election fraud, citing ‘special paper’ in Cuyahoga County,” which, without providing any evidence, states as a fact that, “Former President Donald Trump continues to falsely claim that he was cheated out of the presidency in 2020 by a rigged election.” 

The article does happen to notice that, despite its verdict, somehow “70% of Republicans believe the 2020 presidential election was rigged.” And that, “Experts say such talk is crippling our democracy by undermining faith in its most basic process.” Surely that faith was not undermined at all by the media’s highly organized suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story just before the election.

That's a look behind the curtain revealing how the rich radical leftists infiltrate our state media with their woke propaganda. But it could all backfire. Some have begun to question whether fake or biased news written by paid propagandists is the best route for the legacy media to win back the trust of ordinary Americans.

Even the Washington Post is put off by the tactic. Gabby Deutch is the Post's correspondent for the nonpartisan fact-checking group NewsGuard. She scorched States Newsroom for being “launched with the backing of the Hopewell Fund, another liberal dark-money group.”  

Her editorial was titled, “A website wanted to restore trust in the media. It’s actually a political operation.” She called the “news” from a States Newsroom outlet “hyperlocal partisan propaganda.”

Unfortunately, it’s obvious why the left pushes paid propaganda as actual news. Because it can. 

As the New York Times observed, “On the left, the prospect of a second Trump term spurred a new class of megadonors.” The Times published a piece that reads more like a victory lap than a warning, titled, “Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.”

The paper practically crowed, “A New York Times analysis reveals how the left outdid the right at raising and spending millions from undisclosed donors to defeat Donald Trump and win power in Washington.”

Once these far-left dark-money groups became awash in cash after Trump was elected they had to decide what to do with all that money. They did what their masters wanted.

The investigative think tank Capital Research Center explained, “Donors choose the Arabella network for two purposes: to quietly pass grants along to political groups or to fund “pop-up” groups, activist fronts run by Arabella’s in-house nonprofits.”

The group also noted the attempt to use its “$26.7 million the Ford Foundation granted to the New Venture Fund in 2021, all this dark money to ‘remove all restrictions’ to abortion.”

But, “Uglier still is Ford’s support for Fair Representation in Redistricting, Arabella’s project to warp the 2020–21 redistricting process following the 2020 Census, when states redrew their legislative and congressional maps.”  

We’ll have plenty to say about that in due time.

Garth Kant is Senior Press Secretary of the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus and the editor of On The Record.