The largest newspaper in Arizona hired two new reporters with the help of a group funded by some of the country’s most powerful Big Tech corporations and liberal companies.
The new Arizona Republic reporters came from Report for America, a program launched by the Big Tech and liberal-funded GroundTruth Project to place their hand-selected journalists in newsrooms across the world. The not-for-profit receives millions from the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and the Ford Foundation for its mission to “restore journalism.”
The program offers a major financial incentive for news outlets to take on its reporters. Report for America pays 50 percent of their reporter’s salary the first year with a cap of $25,000 for reporters with less than eight years experience or $30,000 for reporters with eight or more years of experience, then 33 percent of the salary the second year and 20 percent the third year with no cap.
Outlets don’t even have to worry about paying for the entire remainder of those reporters’ salaries. The program pledged to help fundraise half or more of the remainder of each salary. High turnover wouldn’t be an issue, either — the program requires reporters to commit to working at least two years in the newsroom to which they are assigned.
News outlets must relinquish some of their freedom when it comes to hiring the program’s reporters, however. Outlets don’t get to choose from all of the program’s reporters. Report for America hand-selects three to five candidates from which the outlets may choose.
The owner of the Arizona Republic, the mass media holding company Gannett, has given thousands to the program: an undisclosed sum ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.
In addition to the Arizona Republic, Report for America journalists are working for Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting and Tucson Sentinel.
Report for America claimed that its reporters are committed to non-partisan, non-ideological local reporting. Over 200 news outlets across each of the 50 states house at least one of the over 300 Report for America journalists. Two-thirds of those reporters are women, and nearly half are “journalists of color” according to the program.
GroundTruth’s editorial partners include The Washington Post, Time, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Guardian, USA Today, PBS, NPR, NewsWeek, TeenVogue, CNN, Cosmopolitan, ABC News, and USA Today.
Recent IRS filings revealed that Arizona received nearly $5.17 million during the 2020 election from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), pumped with over $350 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to funnel into election offices nationwide. The Zuckerberg funds were intended to provide COVID-19 relief; in large part, they funded controversial election methods like ballot drop-boxes. The Capital Research Center (CRC) first announced the CTCL IRS filings.
The CTCL numbers concurred with AZ Free News reporting earlier this year on CRC data, which reported that CTCL spent just over $5 million in Arizona. In fact, the CRC estimate turned out to be slightly lower.
According to the IRS filings, CTCL’s biggest grant was Maricopa County at over $1.84 million. The runner-up grant amounted to over $950,400 awarded to Pima County. Several counties received slightly under or over half a million each: Navajo County received over $593,700, Apache County received nearly $589,700, Coconino County received over $524,500, and Pinal County received over $472,500.
Yuma County still received a six-figure grant: over $180,700. La Paz County was the odd man out with a $17,500 grant.
President Joe Biden won the following counties funded by CTCL grants: Maricopa (50.3 percent), Apache (66.2 percent), Coconino (60.9 percent), Pima (58.6 percent). Biden also won Santa Cruz (67.2 percent), which had no CTCL grants.
Pima County Supervisors Ally Miller and Steve Christy voted against certifying the 2020 election over the Zuckerberg grants, as Miller explained in an opinion piece published in the Arizona Daily Independent last month. The supervisors didn’t believe the grant money was helping to secure the election.
Of those counties he won, Biden flipped Maricopa from the 2016 election — which Hillary Clinton lost by over four points. He also earned about four percent more of the votes than Clinton in the counties they both won.
Biden lost the following counties funded by CTCL grants: Navajo (45.2 percent), Pinal (40.6 percent), and La Paz (30 percent). However, he lost by a smaller margin than Clinton did, gaining an average of two more points in both counties.
CRC’s reported grants varied slightly from those given in the filings: they reported learning of nearly $3 million to Maricopa County, over $806,000 to Pinal County, nearly $614,700 to Coconino County, and over $593,200 to Apache County. Their estimate of La Paz County’s grant was accurate. CRC didn’t have data on the grants awarded to Navajo, Yuma, or Pima counties.
AZ Free News reached out to Maricopa County about the grant total discrepancy. They didn’t respond by press time.
“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”
Those were the words of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week, and they should send chills up and down your spine. It’s bad enough that we already have Big Tech playing speech police on a daily basis. Now, the federal government is flagging “problematic posts” FOR Facebook?!?
This is outrageous, and it’s incredibly dangerous.
The federal government is supposed to uphold the U.S. Constitution, not actively aid social media companies in censoring Americans.
But it appears this is only the beginning of their plan…
In the opening lines of a behemoth post-election analysis, Time Magazine tipped their hats to the “business titans” for their help in securing the election for President Joe Biden.
Amongst those titans are the ones controlling a majority of modern social interactions, transactions, and entertainment – Big Tech.
Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi stated that Democrats have become the home party for Big Tech.
“In general, everybody’s frustrated and angry about what’s going on here. Everything’s clearly to silence and target conservative ideologies and beliefs. The Democrat Party has become the party of Big Tech, and Big Tech is gladly going along with them because they share their beliefs. I don’t think there’s been a silver bullet solution that anyone’s come up with.”
Mussi noted that these companies align with the Democratic Party because of where they originated and how their business models run.
“I think it was more so where it originated and located at. You saw this develop out of Silicon Valley, California. I also think that the success related to Big Tech wasn’t the typical small business startup. A lot of what exists is venture capital money. [Basically:] ‘we come up with some hot new idea, it doesn’t matter if we make any money on it but let’s grow this thing and turn around and sell it to make a profit.’ There’s no family-run businesses in tech. They’re generally all left-of-center. It drives the culture in these firms.”
Mussi attributed Big Tech’s sweetheart deal with Democrats for causing their party to flip their outward narrative when it comes to big business.
“Democrats live and breathe trashing the big guys. That’s been their bread and butter for 100 years, and now it’s been an open embrace by and large publicly,” stated Mussi. “[Big Tech is] accomplishing their goals – silencing conservatives.”
Zuckerberg pumped the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) with over $350 million for the 2020 elections. Those funds went on to the local elections offices in counties nationwide. Arizona received $5 million, with a $3 million chunk alloted to the county that handed Biden the state: Maricopa County.
Biden won Maricopa despite Trump netting around 400,000 more votes than in 2016. And, Biden received nearly 511,000 more votes than Clinton did in 2016, and over 740,474 more votes than Obama in 2012.
As previously reported, research indicated that CTCL funds swayed the election results in one political direction significantly.
The spending power of Big Tech moguls like Zuckerberg has influenced states to alter their voting systems and laws. Their millions go toward increasing voting turnout efforts in blue areas, while ignoring red ones.
Funding is just one part of their agenda. Big Tech also meddles with the manipulation of information to the public.
A whistleblower has been leaking video discussions from Facebook executives in which they admit to interfering with elections through the control of information – or, as the Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen phrased it, “efforts to protect the election.” That information becoming transparent wasn’t approved by Big Tech, however. Within days, Twitter banned Project Veritas from their platform.
Silicon Valley has grown more sophisticated in their process of squelching any opposition of thought, especially concerning elections.
In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, some of the biggest players in Big Tech banished and dismantled an entire platform from online existence. Parler, marketed as a safe haven for conservatives and open dialogue, was targeted following the January 6 Capitol riot.
Over the course of several days, Parler was yanked from both Apple and Google’s app stores. Individuals who’d downloaded the app before this revocation were limited further, once both app hosts rendered Parler defunct through system updates. Then, Amazon stepped in and dealt the death blow: they removed Parler from their servers so users couldn’t even access the platform online.
Arizona legislators are approaching the Big Tech elephant with one-bite approaches. In this session, several bills propose solutions to scale back Big Tech’s influence.
Most recently, the House has passed a bill that would impact Big Tech’s funding of election offices. If passed by the Senate, the bill would likely scale back those partisan advantages gained from billionaires’ funding.
The House is also considering a bill currently that would loosen Big Tech companies’ grasp on the market. Naturally, lobbyists for Apple and Google took to the state capitol to work against the bill.
However, those are just a few measures that would curb Big Tech’s sway on the election. Mussi acknowledged that these state-level measures were a start, but indicated that the federal government would have to step in as well.
“The question is what you do about it and how you handle it. Because at the state level, I don’t know if there is a silver bullet.”
Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to email@example.com.
By Scott Walter and Aimee Yentes | AZ Free Enterprise Club |
How many Arizonans like the idea of one billionaire family manipulating the way Arizona county election offices operate? That’s an unpopular idea for people across the political spectrum, especially when the billionaire is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose controversial actions make him distrusted by Left and Right.
Yet that’s what happened last November, in Arizona and dozens of other states. Zuckerberg and his wife gave $350 million to a supposedly “nonpartisan” nonprofit, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), which in turn re-granted the money to thousands of local government election offices across America, including nine of Arizona’s 15 counties.
Details aren’t easy to come by, because CTCL has refused to answer questions from the New YorkTimes, the Associated Press, National Public Radio, and others. Despite CTCL declaring grants were meant to offset unforeseen expenses due to COVID-19, reports show that only a tiny fraction of the monies typically went to things like Personal Protective Equipment. CTCL cared much more about financing liberally placed drop boxes around each county and how many foreign languages ads would appear in.
That’s because CTCL’s leaders are experts in every trick in the Left’s handbook of juicing turnout in the locales and demographics that help their preferred political party. CTCL’s founders all came from another group, now defunct: the New Organizing Institute. Unlike CTCL, which is a so-called 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit that’s legally required to be nonpartisan, the New Organizing Institute was a 501(c)(4) nonprofit which allowed it more flexibility to meddle in politics. And meddle it did. The Washington Post bluntly called it, “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry,” because it spread that party’s state-of-the-art voter turnout techniques.
How similar are CTCL and the New Organizing Institute? So similar that the Capital Research Center posted a quiz with texts from both groups’ websites, to see if readers could tell one from the other. It’s a hard test, because the groups’ missions are essentially the same: turn out voters that will favor their preferred candidates.
Did that happen in November? Yes. The Capital Research Center analyzed state after battleground state to see if there were partisan patterns in CTCL’s funding and the election returns. Again, CTCL’s failure to reveal its funding makes data incomplete, but most states, though apparently not Arizona, saw CTCL’s cash go disproportionately to big cities rich with Democratic votes, like Philadelphia.
The near-universal effect of CTCL’s grants was disproportionately greater turnout for one political party. Here’s how it broke down in Arizona, comparing the votes for president in 2020 versus 2016. All 15 counties increased their votes for both parties, but not at all equally. And both parties saw their votes increase even more in the nine counties CTCL funded than the six counties it did not. Here especially the results were unequal.
For the Republicans, the funded counties’ votes increased by 46% more than the rate at which unfunded counties increased. For Democrats, funded counties’ votes skyrocketed upwards 81% more quickly than they rose in unfunded counties.
That inequality in turnout translated into a lot of votes. Again, both parties had more 2020 votes in those nine CTCL-funded counties. But the additional votes Democrats received there gave them a margin over their opponents of 129,000 votes, or more than ten times the Democrats’ state-wide margin of victory.
The Arizona legislature is considering a bill that would ban private funding of county election offices, and we both testified on it. We understand why counties always like possible extra funds, but CTCL’s 2020 scheme raises the question whether Arizona’s elections will be fair if they’re controlled by billionaires instead of the people’s elected representatives.