Does it ever seem like many American self-styled “journalists” in the establishment media are parroting talking points from the same “progressive” script? It is probably because they are. The watchdog group Media Trackers recently announced that it had discovered a secret network of more than 1,000 radical Big Government activists that includes more than a few prominent individuals masquerading as objective news reporters at major press outlets. Lobbyists, fringe political activists, climate alarmists, Democrat Party operatives, and Big Labor are also all represented in the group, which has as its declared mission to create a “more coordinated” movement for leftists to take over America.
Many of the self-described “progressives” strategizing together behind the scenes with other far-left bigwigs work for top establishment media outlets such as CNN, the Washington Post, the online Huffington Post, Reuters, the New York Times, Al Jazeera America, U.S. News & World Report, The Nation magazine, and more. Even a brief review of their work reveals that numerous “journalists” and media types active in the previously secret network regularly promote fellow members and their causes — without disclosing their behind-the-scenes links to each other. The scheming would seem to be a violation of basic journalistic ethics.
Other operatives involved in the secret group include high-level players at major institutions promoting Big Government, the destruction of traditional values, Obama’s agenda to “fundamentally transform” America, globalism, the dissolution of U.S. borders, and hatred of conservatives. Among the outfits represented in the network is a vast cross-section of the misnamed “progressive” movement including everything from Big Labor and Big Green to Democrat Party operatives, Big Abortion, and pseudo-human rights groups. Leaders in dozens of lesser-known fringe groups, such as local “Occupy” movements, are also involved.
The list of members includes operatives with tax-funded abortion giant Planned Parenthood; the extremist pro-abortion outfit NARAL; Big Labor bosses at the SEIU, UAW, CWA, National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO; operatives with MoveOn.org and Occupy Wall Street; Obama’s AstroTurf group Organizing for Action; the Democrat Party; People for the American Way; the discredited climate alarmist group 350.org; the NAACP; the infamous Institute for Policy Studies identified by prominent members of Congress as a subversive communist front; various political campaigns; Amnesty International; the ACLU; the Sierra Club; CodePink; Greenpeace; the Big Business-funded, Obama-linked Center for American Progress infamous for promoting rule by decree and global government; leftist attack group Political Research Associates; and dozens of other statist outfits.
According to Media Trackers, which discovered the network by chance through an open-records request with a University of Wisconsin professor, the group brings together writers, opinion leaders, activists, and political operatives. Using a secret, members-only online system through Google, the more than 1,000 “progressives” — sometimes known as statists for their unflinching faith in Big Government coercion to “solve” all manner of real and imagined problems — plot strategy together while deceptively promoting each other to an unsuspecting public.
What exactly members discuss remains a mystery, but Media Trackers uncovered the membership list and a list of events the network is promoting. A document outlining the association’s policies does shed some light on its efforts. For example, the group is described in the manual as a “confidential space to strategize and organize toward progressive goals.” Those goals include “winning,” “governing,” “changing the culture,” and building a “Super Movement,” according to the document. “We're all on the same team,” it continues. “The more we act as a functional team, the more we will all succeed.” Members are also instructed not to forward messages or reveal the group's existence.
Among the prominent “journalists” and “commentators” in the network, dubbed “Gamechanger Salon,” is Sally Kohn, a radical former Fox News contributor now working for CNN. In her position at the increasingly discredited (and ignored) Cable “News” Network, Kohn regularly parrots pro-Obama propaganda originating from the administration while attempting — in a half-baked manner — to attack conservatives and promote fringe leftist ideas. One of her recent pieces posted on CNN, for example, blasts as “un-American” the use of the term “illegal immigrant” to describe people who immigrated to the United States in violation of U.S. laws. One of the events being promoted by the secret network, meanwhile, was the annual conference of La Raza, which means “the race,” a fringe group purporting to speak for Hispanics that is obsessed with race and supported by the Obama administration.
Other operatives in the network include numerous self-styled “journalists” at the online outlet Huffington Post. Among them is “Senior Political Reporter and Politics Managing Editor” Amanda Terkel. Also on the list is HuffPo Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim. The duo recently wrote an article touting radical Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as a presidential contender, quoting extensively from fellow Gamechanger Salon operatives without disclosing to readers the behind-the-scenes machinations and connections. Numerous “progressive” operatives in the network also regularly publish at HuffPo, which styles itself a news organization despite its statist biases.
In response to a message left on Terkel’s phone requesting comment, she downplayed the revelations about Gamechanger Salon and her involvement with the network. “As reporters who cover politics, it's useful to engage with sources in any forum available,” she told The New American in an e-mailed response. “We're happy to be members of any listserv. So email us if you know of any who are willing to let us join.”
Another prominent member of the group is former New York Times freelance columnist Anna Louie Sussman, who now works as a “reporter” for the newswire Reuters. While the agency purports to be objective, its reporting has becoming increasingly skewed, to the point of blatantly deceiving readers and promoting Democrat talking points as “news.” At Reuters, she covers “energy” and “economic” issues, but she has also written leftist propaganda pieces for a wide array of other establishment media outlets dealing with everything from “gender issues” and so-called “social justice” to “international human rights law."
The Nation magazine’s editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, who regularly writes opinion pieces for the Washington Post, is a member of the group as well. While the publication is known for its far-left bias, it purports to “wage war” upon “misrepresentation.” Even a brief review of its blogs and articles, however, reveals numerous instances of misrepresenting issues, deceptively framing everything in a “progressive” light in an effort to keep expanding unconstitutional government under virtually any pretext. It, too, regularly hypes the efforts and claims of Gamechanger Salon members without disclosing its editor’s membership in the network. Separately, she has repeatedly used her Post column to promote the “American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange,” or ALICE, designed to serve as a statist counterweight to the semi-conservative-leaning ALEC. However, she failed to tell readers that the founder of the fringe group is also part of her secret “progressive” network.
Another heavyweight operative for the leftist world of so-called journalism is Angelo Carusone, vice president of the pro-Obama propaganda mouthpiece “Media Matters.” Also on the list from Media Matters is “Deputy Outreach Director” Rebecca Lenn. Funded by billionaire extremist George Soros, the fringe group, which styles itself a media “watchdog,” has been exposed coordinating its attacks on journalists with officials in the current administration. Establishment media outlets regularly pick up its attack pieces, despite the fact that so many of its propaganda screeds have been exposed as wildly inaccurate. Just last week, the outfit was lambasted by scientists for getting “every fact wrong” in a ham-handed, factually challenged attack on climate experts who question the dubious theories underpinning global-warming alarmism.
The controversial Gamechanger Salon network was created by far-left activist Billy Wimsatt, who apparently still moderates the group. Among other extremist positions touted on his Twitter feed, Wimsatt has called for the illegal immigrants pouring across the southern border to be declared “refugees” and has demanded even more draconian attacks on the gun rights of law-abiding Americans. He also constantly spews pro-Obama propaganda. Indeed, Wimsatt reportedly worked with Obama’s 2008 campaign, and he has also collaborated openly with former Obama “Green Jobs” czar Van Jones, a self-described communist forced to resign after his outlandish revolutionary views were exposed.
Now, the founder of the network apparently works as the “Chief Ideas Officer” for a radical left-wing outfit known as “Gamechanger Labs,” according to his LinkedIn profile. Among other schemes, the organization says on its website that it supports “community organizing” and “racial justice” as well as “R&D for the movement” — presumably the “progressive” movement. “In terms of movement building, [Gamechanger Labs] is in a category by itself,” Van Jones, the self-styled communist from the Obama administration, is quoted as saying on the organization’s website. The outfit Wimsatt works for is linked to, among others, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, according to Discover the Networks.
Some analysts are even referring to the new revelations as “JournoList 2.0.” The reference, of course, is to another scandal in recent years that exposed hundreds of far-left activists posing as non-biased “journalists” across the establishment press, conspiring to protect Obama from criticism at all costs while attacking non-“progressive” voices. That scandal sparked national outrage, especially because many of the self-styled reporters were caught in their own words engaged in underhanded, childish, and deeply controversial tactics totally unbecoming of supposed media professionals.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with having political views and reporting the news. In fact, The New American magazine, under the slogan “That freedom shall not perish,” explains its editorial point of view right on its website — it stands for constitutional government, more freedom, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. What Media Trackers exposed, though, is much different. Americans are led to believe that these supposed journalists are merely non-biased observers reporting the facts. In truth, they are radical activists promoting their wild beliefs while pretending to be reporters; so it should come as no surprise that less than one in four Americans trust the establishment press and that their ratings are plummeting. At the very least, readers deserve full disclosure.