Trust in the mainstream media continues to dip as scandal after scandal go unreported, when it comes to the Left, the Democratic Party, and other affiliated groups or figures. Most prominently, the media’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story looms large as conservatives point out the media’s hypocrisy.
But the national mainstream media is not the only left-wing media organ: Left-wing donors have created a shady network of left-wing non-profit “journalism” outlets pretending to be impartial, politically-neutral news sources in conservative states like South Dakota.
Accuracy in Academia reported on a news story last week where some South Dakotans complained about the ongoing revision of the state’s social studies standards. But much of the outrage was highlighted by the South Dakota Searchlight organization, which is funded by leftists.
Yet Searchlight’s editorial page has a strong anti-Republican bent. Searchlight published at least two editorials which were highly critical of her in the past several months. One editorial criticized her use of a state airplane, which on the surface is legitimate criticism. Another editorial blamed Noem for making nursing homes disappear because of recently-passed tax cuts.
Yet Searchlight has not published a rebuttal to anti-Noem criticism in its commentary, which is not fair to Noem nor her supporters.
Although criticism of public officials is important to keep them accountable, it is no secret that Noem is planning a run for president in 2024. But Noem’s political ambitions should not be a reason for Searchlight’s withering criticism. Instead, Searchlight should provide balanced commentary about Noem’s accomplishments. As one example, Searchlight could give Noem credit for how she handled the state’s economy during and after the pandemic, compared to other states which fared far worse than South Dakota.
On Searchlight’s “About” page, the organization claimed to be using “our journalistic searchlight to illuminate critical issues facing South Dakota, dissect the decisions made by state leaders, and explain the consequences of their policies and the role of politics on South Dakotans.”
The page further claimed that it publishes stories that “prioritizes accuracy, fairness, insight and civility.”
But at the bottom of the page, Searchlight acknowledged that it is a part of the States Newsroom, which is a “national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers.”
The States Newsroom claimed that it is a nonpartisan media outlet focused on “a new, philanthropic business model that focuses on state politics and policy” which does not “run ads of any kind or accept corporate donations or underwriting.” It operates in a total of 31 states, which are listed below:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
Despite its claims to be impartial and non-partisan, the States Newsroom’s major source of funding is the left-wing Hopewell Fund. On its webpage, the fund proudly proclaimed that it is a non-profit specializing in launching “new, innovating social change projects” by helping “changemakers” bring their ideas to fruition. It also included a link to show “commitment to race, equity, diversity, and inclusiveness.”
For context, although Hopewell Fund may seem harmless, the terminology that it uses are buzzwords for the Left. For example, among left-wing organizations, terms like “social change,” inclusiveness,” and “equity” signal their willingness or desire to tear down the current fabric of U.S. society or government and replace it with a radical Marxist ideology. Black Lives Matter used similar language even before its financial scandal eroded public trust in its movement. Corporations and colleges use “equity” to validate race-based hiring processes or affirmative action in college admissions.
South Dakotans should be wary of Searchlight’s politics, in addition to other concerned Americans living in the 31 states where Searchlight’s affiliates operate in, because the Left has set up an extensive state-based organizations to peddle partisan rhetoric.