Just weeks before the general election, a brand new news site popped up in Missouri. They introduced themselves as the Missouri Independent — an objective, fact-forward publication who will provide balanced coverage of the state Capitol. Great news for Missourians, right?
Unfortunately, there is much more to this story than meets the eye. The Independent isn’t independent at all. They are a small part of a large progressive network called States Newsroom that is parachuting into numerous states across the country in order to put a progressive spin on the “news” that they report.
States Newsroom started as a project of the Hopewell Fund, a liberal slush fund managed by Arabella Advisors. Arabella Advisors has deep ties to George Soros and his network of progressive dark money groups. After paying for the foundation and expansion of the States Newsroom network, the groups are trying to publicly distance themselves from each other.
Beyond States Newsroom’s openly partisan origins, it has been lying to Missourians since before it published their first story. It claims to disclose all of their major donors who have given more than $500. This is simply not true. “Undisclosed Virginia Foundation,” and “Fidelity Donor Advised Fund,” are two of the groups listed on its support page. Jason Hancock and Rudi Keller have been asked countless times about these two donors, but they have refused to answer any questions. It’s clear that they have no intention of truly revealing where their funding comes from, and any reasonable person knows that merely publishing a support page doesn’t guarantee transparency.
The Independent also claims that it does not accept corporate donations, but a quick look at its donor list shows “Google LLC” is listed as one of its largest donors. As a new outlet coming into Missouri, these lies lead readers to question its motives and integrity.
At a press briefing last week, Gov. Mike Parson masterfully exposed The Independent for who they really are. He stated that he would not be taking questions from an out-of-state, progressive organization whose main goal is to spread misinformation in Missouri. The Missouri Independent has shown us that it cannot be trusted. News organizations forfeit the benefit of the doubt when their foundation rests on secrecy and deception. Every Republican should follow the governor’s lead and refuse to give comment to the Independent. It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and elected officials who work with it are complicit in the misinformation that it is spreading.
Chris Vas is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism. He serves as the executive director of Liberty Alliance USA.