Why is the EPA Funding a Private Newspaper?

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Environmental Protection Agency has been indulging its inner propagandist by spending at least $3.5 million to float newspaper that is purportedly “reporting” on the EPA’s pet issues. Unfortunately for the readers of this newspaper, the fact that the EPA is its sugar daddy is never told the reading public.

So much for an independent press!

The newspaper in question is the Chesapeake Bay Journal, a free publication that appears monthly across the Mid-Atlantic states. Environmental themed articles from this paper have also appeared in such newspapers as The Baltimore Sun.

This is no partisan issue, either as this has been going on for at least two decades.

For two decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has quietly funded the Bay Journal as an experiment in educating the public about environmental issues. Between 2005 and 2010 alone, the federal agency has given $3.5 million to the newspaper’s founding organization, the nonprofit Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in part to help print and distribute the newspaper, according to documents reviewed by the Washington Guardian.

The newspaper’s editor, Karl Blankenship, says the publication gets about 70 percent of its annual funding from EPA, averaging between $250,000 and $350,000 a year.

The EPA’s inspector general, the agency’s watchdog, recently issued a report questioning the expenditures saying that the newspaper had not fulfilled its requirements to justify the costs.

“When recipients do not complete the required cost or price analysis, we have no assurance that prices are fair and reasonable. Without documentation demonstrating how the recipient evaluated the Bay Journal contractor’s performance, we cannot determine whether the contractor’s procurement of goods and services was proper.”

Naturally the paper disputes the claims.

The newspaper’s editor, Karl Blankenship, defends his paper’s collusion with the EPA and claims that the money is for “informing the public” about environmental issues. And, he claims, it is OK because “no one is getting rich” off the EPA’s payments.

But there is a greater question, here. Why do we have a federal agency funding a private newspaper at all? Since this is the EPA we are talking about here, it is obvious that this expenditure is meant to push its extreme environmental ideas on an unsuspecting reading public. This is just an effort to justify the EPA’s ongoing drive to give itself more power to control our daily lives by cajoling readers to accept its political point of view by stealth.

Further, how does any self-respecting “journalist” take money from the very agency it is supposed to be “reporting” on?

None of this should surprise anyone. Last month we reported that many newspapers are taking money from left-wing foundations to support “reporting” on issues dear to the left.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001