In February the story broke about a Left leaning non-profit named Blueprint NC and a memo that was leaked, which called for the ‘eviscerating’ of top Republicans in the state. An attack on Governor McCory was front and center.
At the time, the story was broken both in the Charlotte Observer and at WRAL by Mark Binker. What Binker and WRAL blew off telling readers in the initial reports was that WRAL’s owner, Jim Goodmon, has a foundation which gave money to Blueprint NC and that former WRAL reporter, Chris Fitzsimon, is also linked to the Goodmon foundation as his own group, NC Policy Watch, is housed in the same place. Fitzsimon still regularly enjoys airtime at WRAL radio.
Mr. Binker has a new piece up. A ‘fair and balanced’ look at think tanks and policy groups out there that are influencing our politics. It’s actually not bad and mentions groups from both sides. Of course, Art Pope – the NC Left’s version of George Soros – gets a special mention. Of note, in the article there is finally a section on Goodmon, even if it is a little vague:
The Justice Center, Action NC, Progress North Carolina, Planned Parenthood and many other left-of-center groups can trace some part of their funding back to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a Winston-Salem based philanthropy founded as a memorial to the son of a tobacco magnate.
A handful of other funders also help bankroll liberal-leaning organizations. Among them is the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, named for the man who founded WRAL-TV and the foundation. His grandson, Jim Goodmon, is both president of WRAL parent Capitol Broadcasting Company and chairman of the foundation’s board.
However, despite the influence of A.J. Fletcher Foundation and other funders, Z. Smith Reynolds appears to provide the broadest common denominator for Raleigh’s family of liberal groups.
I liked that last line. A very subtle ‘squirrel!‘ moment there — A.J. Fletcher doesn’t give as much to Blueprint NC, so it’s no big deal. The Fletcher Foundation is only housed in Z. Smith Reynolds’ NC Justice Center, but please ignore that.
I also liked this bit. Trying to show the softer side and all of this memo hoopla is really unrelated to anything:
Like Z Smith Reynolds, the Pope Foundation also supports cultural and other groups with little political involvement. And neither foundation is the end all and be all of their affiliates’ fundraising.
“We raise lots of money, six figures approaching seven figures, from other people,” John Locke Foundation leader Hood said. While the Pope Foundation is an important donor, John Locke could carry on – in a more limited fashion – without its support, Hood said.
And just because they share a common donor, doesn’t mean groups in either family will be in lockstep. Civitas and John Locke, for example, have offered different visions of tax reform.
No it doesn’t mean lockstep, but we don’t have Civitas, John Locke or the Pope Foundation tied to a group who advocates stalking and ‘eviscerating’ the opposition either. They tend to stick to the actual policies and issues. The article then goes in to talk about non-profit status, leading with the Right leaning groups and throwing in a quote from Sean Kosofsky of Blueprint NC:
“We consider ourselves an infrastructure group,” said Sean Kosofsky, director of Blueprint NC. “Our funders don’t want us out in front.”
Infrastructure group? Oh, does that translate to: ‘we provide talking points’? Funders don’t want you out in front? Guess that’s a bust now. Time to disappear and rename or just hope for forgetful and softball reporting?
It’s the closing quote that was the biggest gem in the crown:
“They should view that information with the same trust or skepticism they hold for their local newspaper and TV station. Everyone should investigate for themselves the facts or information presented by any outlet,” said the Pope Foundation’s Riggs.