Conflict of Interest? Bill Gates Gave $319 Million to Major Media Outlets, Documents Reveal
November 17, 2021 | By Alan Macleod | Photo Image Source: The Defender
“According to MintPress News, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated at least $319 million to fund media projects at hundreds of organizations including CNN, NBC, NPR, PBS and The Atlantic, raising questions about those news outlets’ ability to report objectively on Gates and his work.
Up until his recent messy divorce, Bill Gates enjoyed something of a free pass in corporate media. Generally presented as a kindly nerd who wants to save the world, the Microsoft co-founder was even unironically christened “Saint Bill” by The Guardian.
While other billionaires’ media empires are relatively well known, the extent to which Gates’s cash underwrites the modern media landscape is not. After sorting through over 30,000 individual grants, MintPress can reveal that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has made over $300 million worth of donations to fund media projects.
Recipients of this cash include many of America’s most important news outlets, including CNN, NBC, NPR, PBS and The Atlantic.
Gates also sponsors a myriad of influential foreign organizations, including the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph in the UK; prominent European newspapers such as Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany) and El País (Spain); as well as big global broadcasters like Al-Jazeera.
The Gates Foundation money going towards 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.
Awards Directly to Media Outlets:
- National Public Radio — $24,663,066.
- The Guardian (including TheGuardian.org) — $12,951,391.
- Cascade Public Media — $10,895,016.
- Public Radio International (PRI.org/TheWorld.org) — $7,719,113.
- The Conversation — $6,664,271.
- Univision — $5,924,043.
- Der Spiegel (Germany) — $5,437,294.
- Project Syndicate — $5,280,186.
- Education Week — $4,898,240.
- WETA — $4,529,400.
- NBCUniversal Media — $4,373,500.
- Nation Media Group (Kenya) — $4,073,194.
- Le Monde (France) — $4,014,512.
- Bhekisisa (South Africa) — $3,990,182.
- El País — $3,968,184.
- BBC — $3,668,657.
- CNN — $3,600,000 .
- KCET — $3,520,703.
- Population Communications International (population.org) — $3,500,000.
- The Daily Telegraph — $3,446,801.
- Chalkbeat — $2,672,491.
- The Education Post — $2,639,193.
- Rockhopper Productions (U.K.) — $2,480,392.
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting — $2,430,949.
- UpWorthy — $2,339,023.
- Financial Times — $2,309,845.
- The 74 Media — $2,275,344.
- Texas Tribune — $2,317,163.
- Punch (Nigeria) — $2,175,675.
- News Deeply — $1,612,122.
- The Atlantic- — $1,403,453.
- Minnesota Public Radio — $1,290,898.
- YR Media — $1,125,000.
- The New Humanitarian —$1,046,457.
- Sheger FM (Ethiopia)— $1,004,600.
- Al-Jazeera — $1,000,000.
- ProPublica — $1,000,000.
- Crosscut Public Media — $810,000.
- Grist Magazine— $750,000.
- Kurzgesagt — $570,000.
- Educational Broadcasting Corp — $506,504.
- Classical 98.1 — $500,000.
- PBS — $499,997.
- Gannett — $499,651.
- Mail and Guardian (South Africa) — $492,974.
- Inside Higher Ed. — $439,910.
- BusinessDay (Nigeria) — $416,900.
- Medium.com — $412,000.
- Nutopia — $350,000.
- Independent Television Broadcasting Inc. — $300,000.
- Independent Television Service, Inc. — $300,000.
- Caixin Media (China) — $250,000.
- Pacific News Service — $225,000.
- National Journal — $220,638.
- Chronicle of Higher Education — $149,994.
- Belle and Wissell, Co. — $100,000.
- Media Trust — $100,000.
- New York Public Radio — $77,290.
- KUOW – Puget Sound Public Radio — $5,310.
Together, these donations total $166,216,526. The money is generally directed towards issues close to the Gates’ hearts.
For example, the $3.6 million CNN grant went towards “report[ing] on gender equality with a particular focus on least developed countries, producing journalism on the everyday inequalities endured by women and girls across the world,” while the Texas Tribune received millions to “to increase public awareness and engagement of education reform issues in Texas.”
Given that Bill is one of the charter schools’ most fervent supporters, a cynic might interpret this as planting pro-corporate charter school propaganda into the media, disguised as objective news reporting.
The Gates Foundation has also given nearly $63 million to charities closely aligned with big media outlets, including nearly $53 million to BBC Media Action, over $9 million to MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation and $1 million to The New York Times Neediest Causes Fund.
While not specifically funding journalism, donations to the philanthropic arm of a media player should still be noted.
Gates continues to underwrite a wide network of investigative journalism centers as well, totaling just over $38 million, more than half of which has gone to the D.C.-based International Center for Journalists to expand and develop African media.”