Aletho News


ProPublica Exposed: A Pseudo Alternative with $26 Million Dollars in Secret Mega-Donors Funding

By Sibel Edmonds | Boiling Frogs | September 8, 2013

On September 7, 2013, the daring website, Cryptome, published and publicized the tax reports filed by one of the dime-a-dozen pseudo alternative online publications-ProPublica. The stunning IRS 990 forms filed by this new flashy tax-exempt online news organization expose a secretive operation funded by millions of dollars received from secret entities:

ProPublica Tax Report for 2011 lists $10,000,000 (Ten Million Dollars) private funding from Anonymous (Secret) Donors: Click Here

ProPublica Tax Report for 2010 lists $10,000,000 (Ten Million Dollars) private funding from Anonymous (Secret) Donors: Click Here

ProPublica Tax Report for 2009 lists $ 6,000,000 (Six Millions Dollars) private funding from Anonymous (Secret) Donors: Click Here

That is correct. ProPublica, in the first three years of its existence and operation, has received $26,000,000 (26 Million Dollars) funding from secret donors.

The tax-exempt, 501 (C) (3) NGO was established and began operation in June 2008. When you look at the established date of their operation, and their first 990 tax form filed in 2009, you see that, right from the start, before even establishing any track record, their founders-operators were able to collect $6,000,000.

Well, if you look at ProPublica’s founders and operators the above facts will start making sense:

  • ProPublica was founded by Paul Steiger, the former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal
  • Propublica is managed and led by Stephen Engelberg, the former investigative editor of The New York Times
  • Propublica is run and directed by Richard Tofel, the former assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal

Let’s sum it up: Three individuals, major participants and players from the US mainstream media, from entities long known as intimate propaganda arms of the US government, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, got together and said: The alternative media is taking off with the public, so let’s set up shop and pose as one. After all, the establishment is smart enough to not put all its eggs in one basket-in this case, the mainstream outlet.

With their established record as mainstream players who understood the importance of government-imposed propaganda and the role of controlled opposition fronts, the trio set up shop with window-dressing that distorted them and made them look like a Watch-Dog Independent Alternative media outlet – in a posh office with an Uber Expensive Manhattan address.

Right from the start, with the government and the establishment’s backing they positioned them in the forefront as a major player by: 1-quickly securing $6,000,000 upfront seed money from secret donors; 2-smoothly establishing  their shop-business as a tax-exempt 501 (C) (3) NGO with the US government

Isn’t it amazing how a supposedly alternative watchdog that is supposedly working to expose dark secret deals for greater transparency and public awareness happens to be a mega-funded business with secret mega-donors?!

I tried my best to comb through their site, hoping to get a glimpse of these generous funders who have given ProPublica $26,000,000. But, no such luck. If I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on the same-o-same-o mega corporate foundations- the 1%: Soros, Rockefellers, Carnegie, Ford … You know who we’re looking at and talking about here, no?

I would say that even more appalling than having $26,000,000 from secret donors is the fact that ProPublica wants much more: They want uninformed and gullible individuals, our average hard-working Janes & Johns, to dish out donations and recurring subscriptions, and enrich the already very rich operators of this so-called alternative business. How bold and daring of ProPublica !

Think about it, during these tough economic times, while even the mainstream is struggling to make ends meet (despite backing from billionaires, government and corporate advertisers), ProPublica has received $26, 000,000 and more from its secret admirers within the mega-billionaire circle. Why? Since when do the Uber Corporate players and their foundations have a desire for transparency-seeking and Pro-Public media sources? Obviously, they don’t want any transparency when it comes to their money and where their mega-dollars go. Otherwise, why remain so very anonymous and secret? Right?


Aletho News adds that ProPublica seems to have a thing about Iran and Hezbollah:

Salting “public interest” news and commentary with warmongering pieces furthering Israel’s aggressive aims deserves exposure and LobeLog has done just that. In July, Jim Lobe deconstructed the ProPublica piece, The Terror Threat and Iran’s Inroads in Latin America. His take on ProPublica’s smear Iran pieces:

What virtually all of them have in common is the heavy reliance on anonymous intelligence sources; a mixture of limited original reporting combined with lots of recycled news; a proclivity for citing highly ideological, often staunchly hawkish neoconservative “experts” on Middle East issues from such think tanks as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) without identifying them as such; a surprising deference (considering his status as an investigative reporter) toward “official” accounts or reports by friendly security agencies, some of which work very closely with their Israeli counterpart…

Lobe’s article, ProPublica and the Fear Campaign Against Iran is worth reading in its entirety.


BFP Update #1

In less than an hour after our report on ProPublica tax forms, their $26 Million-dollar budget and untraceable (at least not easily traceable) corporates and foundations funders, we received a threatening e-mail from their  President Richard Tofel asking us to retract since somewhere, out there, they have a list of some of their major donors. They sure made that info hard to find!

Now we have more documents, including the list of some of their major donors and a more exact dollar number for their operating budget. We are more than happy to release these documents and the links. You know what: This information proves every single point we made in our report and more! Here we go:

1- We had listed ProPublica’s funding at $26,000,000. Well, it happens to be much higher than that: ProPublica, during their first four years, received $37,000,000 in funding. They received $11,000,000 in 2012, and that brings the total for their four years in operation to $37,000,000 Million: Click Here

2- They have listed some of their big foundations- make that corporate-foundations, under a vague ‘Supporters’ page. Well, again, I was right: Ford, Soros, Rockefeller and Carnegie are there, but there are more …Hewlett Foundation, Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund , Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge … and check this, even NBC4New York!! To read the list filled with mega billionaires and millionaires check out ProPublica’s list of Sugar Daddies here

Let me give you a couple of examples: Sandler Foundation gave ProPublica $4,000,000 in 2012, and Knight Foundation gave them $2,000,000 only in 2012 (for one year). Check them out here

3-ProPublica also lists its partners. Ladies and gentleman if we had to summarize the list it would read: The Entire US Mainstream Media. ProPublica partners list include: CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Chicago Tribune, NPR, CNBC, Fortune, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New York Times, NewsWeek … Basically, the entire charlatan and propaganda machine called the US Mainstream Media. Not only that, they are also partner with Amazon! Please help yourself to this truly stinky list of ProPublica partners: Click Here

All right. I now have provided you with additional information related to ProPublica funding and partners, as I promised Mr. Tofel. And with all this, what have we got? Let’s recap:

An almost brand new business posing as a nonprofit alternative online publication received $37,000,000 since its operation began 4 years ago. This hefty $37,000,000 comes from all the nasty corporate moguls such as Rockefellers, George Soros, Ford, Carnegie Family, Hewlett Packard, Goldman, and  the like. ProPublica is also proud to announce the entire dirty despicable US mainstream media, outlets such as CNN, NBC, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, as its dear partners in its operations.

Now, I invite you to find one qualification here, whether in funding, or the background of its operators, or its partners, that makes this phony an Independent Alternative Media with only the public interest in mind. When ProPublica says, alternative, ask them exactly alternative to what?!

BFP Update #2

Today, after spending hours analyzing ProPublica’s tax forms, which list their enterprise’s expenses for 2012 (Click Here ), we have more shocking items to report. For this report we are concentrating mainly on the incredibly extravagant salaries listed for this newly created NGO enterprise, since the level of money they receive would even raise the eyebrows of the highest paid reporters-managers in mainstream media publications.

The average salary earned by Presidents-CFOs/CEOs within the NGO industry is $97,000 a year

The President and Editor in Chief for ProPublica, Paul E. Steiger (Position in 2012), made $570,000 + $14,914 = $584,914

The 2012 average salary for managing editors for major publications is $65,000

The Managing Editor for ProPublica, Stephen Engelberg, made $360,000 + $31, 758 = $391,758

The average salary for NGO general managers is around $60,000 a year

The General Manger for ProPublica (Position in 2012), Richard Tofel, made $335,000 + $28,600 = $363,600

The average salary for Vice President (VP) positions within the NGO community is $70,000

The average salary for editors for major publications in New York is $61,000

The Editor for ProPublica, Mark Schoofs, made $184,000 + $7918 = $191,918

The 2012 average salary for reporters in major publications in New York is around $67,000

A Senior Reporter for ProPublica (Position in 2012), Jesse Eisinger, made $218,500 + $29,682 = $248,182

Another Senior Reporter, for ProPublica, Dafna Linzer, made $212,000 + $18,534 = $230,534

Another ProPublica Senior Reporter, Charles Ornstein, made $192,500 + $$25,984 = $218,484

And yet another Propublica Senior Reporter, Tracy Weber, made $192,500 + $20,270 = $212,770

The last we heard (and read) journalists were crying out loud on the issue of shrinking and even disappearing already-meager salaries.  Well, the industry’s report on average salaries justifies them, since even within the major publications in New York many senior reporters are collecting less than $60,000. What do you know! They should be lining up for jobs with the NGO online publications!! ProPublica reporters are making quarter million dollars annual salaries and benefits ($248,000).

Same with managers and mid-level editors. The private publication business industry seems nothing compared to some start-up NGOs. Look, the general managers and mid-level VPs at ProPublica are raking hundreds of thousands of dollars ($363,600 & $260,135).

And check out the Wall Street man who had the nose to smell where the real money was going to come from: Mr. Paul E. Steiger with $584,914. And whoever said you can’t make millions of dollars within a couple of years using NGO models and dirty sugar daddies has been proven wrong!

September 8, 2013 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , ,


  1. It’s a bit late in the day for these exposés. But I would like to know whether these three kingpins: “Paul Steiger, former managing editor of the WSJ, Stephen Engelberg, former investigative editor of the NYT, and Richard Tofel, former assistant publisher of the WSJ,” are all Jewish. It seems almost certain, but Sibel, like most people, is too well-bred or too inhibited to mention it. I don’t see any reason not to regard it as pertinent.

    Comment by niqnaq | September 8, 2013 | Reply

    • The “anti-Semitism” slur serves to preclude observations such as “is this an occurrence of people supporting Zionism because they self identify as Jews?”

      The problem being that we can’t afford to allow these sayanim to operate without being called out.

      Comment by aletho | September 9, 2013 | Reply

      • In identifying what may adversely influence fair and accurate reporting (like Zionism) I creep towards an even broader category – religious fundamentalism. An individual’s religion doesn’t seem relevant unless it crosses the line into something more offensive like Zionists, Christian Fundies, etc.

        Comment by Rip Harvest | September 9, 2013 | Reply

  2. excellent reporting

    Comment by Tom | December 30, 2013 | Reply

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