“Nonpartisan” AP accepts $300,000 in funding from climate activist group
By Cassie B. // Jan 08, 2024

The Associated Press (AP) has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from a climate activist group, sparking concerns about whether the world’s biggest news organization can report on climate issues in an unbiased manner.

The organization in question is the KR Foundation, whose website lists its mission statement as addressing “the climate crisis by pushing for a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels at a global level. In line with the Paris climate agreement, as signed by governments, and backed by industry and society.”

Although AP claims it is committed to the “highest practicable degree of transparency” when it comes to its financial supporters, it only added the group to its list of philanthropic supporters this month despite receiving the funding from them in 2022.

Some of the Danish nonprofit group’s pet causes are attacking financial institutions that help to fund projects involving fossil fuels, along with supporting “the transition to a sustainable economic paradigm" and the political influence of those connected to fossil fuels. It views media outlets as a major target for pushing its climate agenda.

AP reportedly received $300,000 from the group. However, that is only a small portion of the overall funds they have received from climate activist groups. Last year, they admitted they had received more than $8 million from climate activists when announcing the establishment of a new team that will be focused on climate change.

Although AP claims to have strict editorial independence, a review of recent headlines they’ve published about the topic by Climate Depot reveals a rather overt bias and a convenient alignment with many of the core beliefs of the KR Foundation. For example, they’ve used headlines such as “Endangered species list grows by 2,000. Climate change is part of the problem” and “Climate change threatens Bolivian cholitas’ livelihood” in the last two months.

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In addition, they asked in one article, “How did humans get to the brink of crashing climate?”, while a summary of the COP28 climate change conference praised negotiators for their efforts to “save a planet in peril.”

The KR Foundation supports several organizations in its “coordinated efforts to phase out fossil fuels." In 2018, they provided the Children’s Radio Foundation with $488,000 to train African radio journalists to serve “as community activists on climate change.”

They have also backed bans on ads by oil companies in Australia and funded a California-based group known as Law Students for Climate Accountability that pressures law firms to avoid representing fossil fuel interests.

AP’s bias rating changed from neutral to left-leaning

The media bias monitor AllSides changed its assessment of AP from neutral to left-leaning in 2022, and a May 2023 blind bias survey confirmed this rating. As a news organization that is widely considered the “gold standard” when it comes to objective journalism, its wire service gives it a broad reach, which means it should be able to stand up to particularly close scrutiny.

AllSides notes: “When AP displays political bias, or fails to portray political events, legislation and perspectives in a balanced and even-handed way, the impact is broad and far-reaching. A media outlet that is relied upon by outlets all over the country deserves a high level of scrutiny when it comes to political bias.”

The AP's reporting is read by 4 billion people every day and claims it values “accurate, fact-based, nonpartisan reporting.”

Sources for this article include:





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