If you’re wondering why there’s been a lot of negative press lately about the Idaho Freedom Foundation, maybe this will help: There’s a new propaganda factory that just set up shop in our state. It’s called the Idaho Capital Sun, whose writers include expats from the infamously progressive Idaho Statesman and Idaho Education News.
The Idaho Capital Sun does not have a print edition; it’s online only. But the key to the Sun’s reach is that it writes stories for its online platform that are then published by the legacy press. If it’s a negative article about the Idaho Freedom Foundation or a conservative officeholder, you can bet the Idaho Capital Sun will write it and your local newspaper will run it.
The Sun follows a model similar to that of Idaho Education News, whose writers often complain about conservative policies in relation to public schools and colleges and universities. Idaho Education News also publishes online and then shares its content with newsrooms throughout the state. The Sun is different in that it does not limit itself to education issues.
The Sun has been around since April, and has already generated four articles lamenting the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s growing influence, including making the same unfounded claims that IFF is “breaking non-profit laws.”
The Sun is part of a larger network of recently sprouted news outlets in two dozen states operating under an umbrella called States Newsroom. Funders include the Wyss Foundation, which backs efforts to “shape media coverage to help Democratic causes.” The arrival of States Newsroom into the capitol press corps across the country was heralded by the website BlueTent whose goal is to unite “moderates, liberals and Democratic Socialists" and get money into the hands of leftist organizations and causes.
I spent close to 20 years in journalism, and I remember when the press was content to let their editorial boards and columnists lean left. Now, entire newsrooms are being built to generate stories designed to shift public opinion in that specific direction. Back in my day, we called this agenda-setting journalism, which was considered unethical. It was also unethical to reprint third-party news content out of concern that someone else was shaping news coverage. Today, the need to make America more socialist and drown out conservative ideas outweighs the call to produce unbiased journalism.
This exercise in normalizing and spreading fake news is occurring as Idahoans are beginning to ask important questions about their own state and local government. Questions like:
- If Idaho is so conservative, why did the Legislature pass the weakest anti-critical race theory law in the country?
- Why did lawmakers insist on continuing to fund social justice programs in our schools and colleges campuses?
- Why does Idaho tax people on their income and property?
- Why do teachers unions have more power than local school boards?
- Why are special interest groups on the state pension system?
- And why do so many leftist groups get so much funding from state taxpayers?
And so on.
The Sun is trying to counter this new interest in state and local policies by drowning newspaper pages with spin. The Idaho Freedom Foundation, as well as other advocates of limited government, is firmly in its crosshairs.
So now you know. Most of what you read in the Idaho media is not real journalism. It’s just hot air designed to undermine Idaho’s conservative values, organizations, and politicians. Don't believe it.