Bill Gates Pumped $319 Million into Media Outlets to Shape Public Narrative
Beneficiaries include CNN, NBC, NPR, PBS, the Atlantic, documents show
Billionaire Bill Gates has pumped $319 million into select media outlets around the world as part of an effort to shape the public narrative, an investigative report has revealed.
The scheme was exposed in documents obtained by Alan Macleod at the MintPress News.
Accoridng to Macleod, the information was revealed during a review of over 30,000 individual grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's website database.
Among the beneficiaries on the list are CNN, NBC, NPR, PBS, the Atlantic, New York Public Radio, and many more.
"The Gates Foundation money going toward media programs has been split up into a number of sections, presented in descending numerical order, and includes a link to the relevant grant on the organization's website," Macleod wrote in his report on the matter.
The top award given directly to a media outlet was $24.6 million which went to NPR.
The second largest was $12.9 million to the U.K.'s Guardian, followed by $10.8 million to Seattle, Washington-based Cascade Public Media, which owns the local station KCTS-TV.
Other direct awards went to the Conversation, Germany's Der Spiegel, Education Week, NBCUniversal Media, France's Le Monde, the BBC, CNN, the Education Post, the Financial Times, the Texas Tribune, Al-Jazeera, and more.
"The money is generally directed towards issues close to the Gates' hearts," Macleod explained.
"For example, the $3.6 million CNN grant went towards 'report[ing] on gender equality with a focus on least developed countries, producing journalism on the everyday inequalities endured by women and girls across the world.'"
The Texas Tribune, Macleod reported, received millions of dollars in order to "increase public awareness and engagement of education reform issues in Texas."
"Given that [Gates] is one of ... charter schools' most fervent supporters, a cynic might interpret this as planting pro-corporate charter school propaganda into the media, disguised as objective reporting," Macleod quipped.
You can view the full lists with the accompanying links here.
Macleod noted that the list does not take into account sub-grants, which are monies given by recipients to media across the globe.
"While the Gates Foundation fosters an air of openness about itself, there is actually precious little public information about what happens to the money from each grant, save for a short, one- or two-sentence description written by the foundation itself on the website," he continued.
"Only donations to press organizations themselves or projects that could be identified from the information on the Gates Foundation's website as media campaigns were counted, meaning that thousands of grants having some media element do not appear in this list."
Macleod pointed out that the foundation's partnership with media empire ViacomCBS is the perfect illustration.
ViacomCBS, which controls programming for CBS News, Nickelodeon, BET, and more, was reportedly a Gates Foundation beneficiary in exchange for "[inserting] information and PSAs into its programming and that Gates had intervened to change storylines in popular shows like ER and Law & Order SVU."
"However, when checking BMGF's grants database, 'Viacom' and 'CBS' are nowhere to be found, the likely grant in question (totaling over $6 million) merely describing the project as a 'public engagement campaign aimed at improving high school graduation rates and postsecondary completion rates specifically aimed at parents and students,' meaning that it was not counted in the official total," Macleod explained.
Macleod pointed out that while most media coverage of the Gates Foundation's donations is painted in an altruistic light, there are "inherent flaws" with the giving, including the idea that such massive donations permit influential billionaires to help "set the public agenda," which in turn provides them carte blanche over what society as a whole consumes.