The man in charge of a new effort to sort news from “fake news” has given four times more money to Democrats than to Republicans, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. But don’t expect to hear that tidbit from the media.
Earlier this month, major news outlets covered media businessman and journalist Steven Brill’s latest endeavor: NewsGuard. The project aims to fight fake news by employing journalists to rate thousands of online news sources. But while these outlets reported on the millions of dollars backing NewsGuard, they didn’t look into Brill’s own political contributions.
So far, according to The Washington Post, NewsGuard’s team includes Brill, Gordon Crovitz (formerly with The Wall Street Journal), Poynter.org chief media writer James Warren (formerly with New York Daily News and The Chicago Tribune), and Eric Effron (formerly with Reuters, The Week, and Legal Times).
On March 3, reporter Paul Farhi wrote that NewsGuard already boasts “about $6 million in venture funds” from places like ad agency Publicis Groupe and the Knight Foundation, which invests in various journalism projects.
Appearing on CBS This Morning March 5, Brill elaborated on his venture to be released this fall.
“We're going to hire dozens of journalists to read and review the 7,500 news and information sites that are responsible for 98% of the consumption in the United States,” Brill said. NewsGuard will place green, yellow, or red labels on the sites as well as a “nutrition label” containing background information.
CBS broke down the meanings of the labels: green for “fair & accurate,” yellow for “bias or inaccuracies,” and red for “deliberate ‘fake news.’” Brill hoped that social media, like Facebook, and search engines, like Google, will participate. Advertising agencies, he said, will want the labels to know which sites to avoid.
Unlike failing algorithms, his team will do the job, he told CNN March 4.
Brill didn’t talk about a “nutrition label” for himself or his team. But according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Brill may have given more than $23,000 to both the Democratic party and particular Democratic candidates.
Contribution Total to Dems: $23,190
$1,200 to Abrams, Robert
$2,000 to Hyatt, Joel
$1,000 to Clinton, Bill
$1,000 to Green, Mark
$1,000 to McCarthy, Carolyn
$3,000 to Schumer, Charles E
$250 to Katz, Melinda R
$500 to Clooney, Nick
$1,000 to Clinton, Hillary
$2,000 to Ford, Harold E Jr
$4,600 to Obama, Barack
$2,300 to Democratic Nominee Account
$1,000 to Thompson, Bennie G
$1,000 to Martin, James Francis
$340 to Oberman, Justin Pereira
$1,000 to Lofgren, Zoe
Compare that to the just over $5,000 he offered to Republicans.
Contribution Total to GOP: $5,250
$4,000 to Lungren, Dan
$250 to Mica, John L
$1,000 to King, Pete
That’s Brill’s “nutrition label” for you.
Methodology: MRC Culture counted all listings of “Steven Brill” with the occupations of American Lawyer Media, Brill Media Ventures, Court TV, and Verified Identity.