On Wednesday, Kentucky governor Matt Bevins took to Twitter to share a three-minute-long video expressing how “OUTRAGEOUS” it is that the local Courier Journal has teamed up with nonprofit journalism outlet ProPublica. Without context, it seems totally out of place. Actually, even with context, it’s totally out of place and weirdly suspicious. Bevins rages about how the Courier Journal’s uniting with ProPublica means the journal can no longer be trusted, going on about its left-wing agenda and how it’s funded by “the likes of George ‘I Hate America’ Soros.”
Bevins is a conservative through and through. At the drop of a hat, he fearmongers about journalists writing the truth and accuses the kingpin of Republican conspiracy theories, Soros, of privately funding a smear campaign, despite the fact that the philanthropist’s donations account for a single percentage point of ProPublica’s funding, per WaPo.
As it turns out, the Courier Journal does a good job of holding Bevins accountable, which Bevins hates. The Courier Journal has written about Bevins providing a friend with a $200,000 raise and attending a Koch brothers event, among other things the governor apparently didn’t want public.
ProPublica is similarly known for not pulling punches, but on a much larger scale. It’s one of the last bastions for journalism based entirely around investigative research, declining to post op-eds and run entirely by donations. Where most outlets find it difficult to afford the intrinsically time-demanding investigations, ProPublica makes them a cornerstone. As a result, it publishes content that points out how the poor are more likely to be audited than rich, or the fact that doctors aren’t revealing industry ties in their research.
ProPublica is reaching out to 14 local news outlets that otherwise wouldn’t have the resources to embark on those pricey, research-focused pieces. That’s the partnership the Courier and ProPublica have struck, and what’s causing Bevins to shake in his boots.
Here’s the extent of the information that was given about what the team would be investigating: “Courier Journal reporters Alfred Miller and Caitlin McGlade, and investigations editor James G. Wright will work with ProPublica throughout 2019. All come with a background in data analysis and watchdog journalism with lasting impact.” The Courier-Journal’s announcement goes on to say, “We have a proud 150-year tradition of protecting taxpayers, safeguarding our environment, and holding public officials and governmental agencies accountable.”
ProPublica announced its partnership at 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and this video went live just 13 hours later. So what is Matt Bevins so afraid of?