Liberty Alliance USA calls on The Missouri Independent to follow journalistic ethics
October 20, 2020
Statement from Liberty Alliance USA regarding the launch of The Missouri Independent, a new publication in Missouri that purports to be a news organization:
Today, it was announced that The Missouri Independent, an affiliate of States Newsroom, will begin operating in Missouri. They claim to be an objective operation, but in reality it’s a “dark money” organization that doesn’t disclose it’s funding sources.
Journalism has traditionally been funded by subscribers and advertisers. This operating system protects journalists and readers from conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, States Newsroom and The Independent will operate through donations from far-left organizations and individuals who have a vested interest in dismantling and upending the very fiber of American society – a hallmark of the modern Left.
The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists should, “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.”
Liberty Alliance USA is calling on journalist and editor Jason Hancock to uphold the journalist code of ethics at The Missouri Independent and recuse the publication from reporting on the following topics that present clear and obvious conflicts of interest:
- Stories regarding Clean Missouri or Amendment 3 on the ballot in November. AFSCME is a major donor to States Newsroom and also donated significantly to Clean Missouri.
- Stories regarding the Missouri Department of Conservation. The Wyss Foundation is a major donor to States Newsroom and also has significant interest in conservation efforts around the country.
- Stories regarding environmental protection policies. The Piedmont Environmental Council and Coalition for Smarter Growth is a major donor to States Newsroom and also has significant interest in environmental regulation.
- Stories regarding the election for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district in 2020. Sonjia Smith is a major donor to States Newsroom and also donated to Democrat candidate Jill Schupp.
“The state of journalism has been deteriorating for the last decade, but the launch of The Independent in Missouri brings us to an all time low. When Missourians read the news, they expect objective coverage that will inform them on how their tax dollars are being spent. Unfortunately, States Newsroom, with help from a cadre of Liberal activists and donors, has decided to deliver politically slanted coverage to benefit their supporters,” said Liberty Alliance Executive Director Chris Vas. “While Jason Hancock, Rudi Keller, Tessa Weinberg, and Rebecca Rivas were previously employed as reporters, it is clear that they have decided to further abandon their journalistic ethics to advance liberal causes in Missouri through their coverage. Elected officials, government workers, and candidates should understand that The Missouri Independent is not a news site, but instead a network to advance left-leaning causes. With that in mind, every person in the public sphere should be extremely hesitant and skeptical about providing interviews and statements to The Independent.”