The implications of this revelation from Mideast analyst Omni Ceren are huge. It is unlikely that this is the first time wealthy Leftist organizations have paid off “journalists.” Perhaps this is a clue as to why the mainstream media marches in unbroken lockstep in opposing resistance to jihad terror and smearing foes of terror as “bigots” and “Islamophobes.” I expect there is a payroll for that somewhere that has yet to be revealed.
On May 5 the NYT published its profile of Ben Rhodes, in which Rhodes bragged about creating an “echo chamber” with the Ploughshares Fund to sell the Iran deal on the basis of false pretenses [a]. A few hours ago the AP published a deep dive into Ploughshares showing that the group is funding a range of lobbies, policy shops, and journalists and media outlets, all of which are bouncing Iran messaging back and forth between each other [b].
Aspects of the Ploughshares network had already been reported out. In Feb 2012 the WFB reported on Ploughshares funding NPR [c]. In March 2015 the WSJ reported “the Ploughshares coalition includes a former Iranian government spokesman, the liberal Jewish organization J Street and a group of former American diplomats who have held private talks with Iranian government officials… [and] the Arms Control Association” [d]. In July 2015 the WFB printed details of a Ploughshares conference call that brought together White House officials with over 100 participants, in which groups were told to prepare for a “real war” that would involve “blitzing the hell out of the Hill,” pressuring Congressional Democrats, and leaning on Jewish groups [e][f]. In August 2015 Commentary published 1,500 words and a couple dozen links naming names in the network [g].
What hadn’t been widely discussed – until today’s AP story – was that Ploughshares has been directly funding journalists and media outlets in the context of the politicized Iran deal fight. In case you’re running down this angle, here are some documents published by Ploughshares Fund describing the group’s efforts in its own words.
— In 2014 Ploughshares commissioned a “Cultural Strategy Report.” It laid out how the organization could use PR firms, Hollywood studios, video games, and journalists to create a “cultural strategy that could complement existing funding and operational activities.” Here is part of the section describing directly funding journalism [PDF here – h]:
Similar to an academic chair, directly fund one or more national journalism positions at media outlets like The Guardian, Salon, Huffington Post, or Pro Publica, whose exclusive “beat” and focus of investigation and reporting would be nuclear weapons, disarmament, and nonproliferation… We understand that similar efforts supported by Ploughshares Fund in the past did not generate the desired volume of coverage (funding of reporters at The Nation and Mother Jones and a partnership with the Center for Public Integrity to create a national security desk). However we feel this strategy would be more successful by focusing on themes, media outlets and journalists who resonate with the target audiences (youth and faith communities) and by pursing this strategy in concert with other approaches.
— In 2015 Ploughshares published a video and letter from Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione titled “How We Won.” Cirincione boasted that the group leveraged its funding so lobbyists, policy voices, and journalists could “coordinate efforts” to push the Iran deal. The video ends with a scrolling list of groups involved. The letter goes into detail on how Ploughshares leveraged funding to create its network [i]:
These groups and individuals were decisive in the battle for public opinion and as independent validators… they lacked a common platform – a network to exchange information and coordinate efforts. Ploughshares Fund provided that network. Often, networks can make all the difference… We built a network of over 85 organizations and 200 individuals in favor of a negotiated solution to the Iranian crisis… We credit this model of philanthropy – facilitating collective action through high-impact grantmaking – with creating the conditions necessary for supporters of the Iran agreement to beat the political odds.
A lot of work is now being done on how the Iran deal echo chamber worked and funded. Two other articles from the last 48 hours: how Ploughshares also funded faith groups to be part of the pro-deal network [j] and how the network was mobilized this week to attack witnesses who testified in front of the House Oversight Committee on the White House’s sales campaign [k].