Just when you think big-box “journalism” has hit rock bottom, the ocean floor sinks another 100 feet. Widely cited media “fact check” organization the Poynter Institute held its yearly Bowtie Ball in celebration of itself on Nov. 18, and the guest of honor underscored how far removed the moneyed operation is from mainstream America.
“The Poynter Institute’s annual Bowtie Ball showcases the most dazzling and lively personalities in journalism as we gather in Tampa Bay for one electric celebration,” Poynter gushed in an event preview on its website before the stylish affair. “Anderson Cooper will receive the 2023 Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism during the fundraising gala this year.”
How about that? CNN does have some dedicated viewers after all.
“Cooper is one of the most influential, trusted and dynamic broadcast journalists working today,” Poynter explained.
Premium Cocktails for Dedicated Journalists on Google’s Dime
Poynter is no minor player on the mainstream media scene. Owner of The Tampa Bay Times, it has financial backing from powerful corporate and progressive “philanthropic” entities. Notorious globalist billionaire George Soros is a donor, but Big Tech behemoth Google seems to have a particular interest in backing an organization that enables the ongoing censorship of conservative news outlets.
In 2022, Google and YouTube gave $13.2 million to Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network to help fight “misinformation.” A Nov. 13 release showed Google’s money going to fund campaigns all around the world, including Belarus, Germany, Myanmar, Serbia, Spain, and even Chinese communist-controlled Hong Kong.
Poynter’s annual swank event speaks volumes about the Marie Antoinette-style tone-deafness rampant in dominant establishment media today:
“Since the Bowtie Ball debuted in 2015, Poynter has welcomed thousands of supporters of the free press to don their favorite formal apparel – bow ties encouraged – for dinner, dancing and toasts with Pulitzer Prize winners, best-selling authors and media personalities from the nation’s most beloved newsrooms.
“You’ll enjoy mingling with media heavyweights and hearing first-hand accounts of journalistic achievements during an elegant cocktail reception in the heart of Tampa’s bustling downtown. Sponsors and VIP ticket holders will enjoy a private reception with Cooper.
“The real party will start in the grand ballroom with a gourmet, three-course dinner, complete with a premium open bar. Every seat is the best in the house when you’re surrounded by local and national journalists and emerging media voices. You’ll hear stories about the power of journalism, see the impact of Poynter and have the opportunity to show your support for the free press.”
It’s media elitism at its finest.
We Can Be Heroes
“Each year, Poynter presents the lifetime achievement award to an accomplished journalist whose career has made a significant impact on democracy and its institutions,” the organization noted of the Bowtie Ball. A list of previous honorees is hilarious until one realizes Google and its algorithms are paying the freight for all this back-slapping journalistic self-indulgence.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein took the award in 2022 in a nod to bygone daydreams of Robert Redford derring-do that seems every bit as dated as the 50 years it has been since Watergate exploded upon America’s consciousness.
In 2021, Lesley Stahl of CBS’ news magazine program 60 Minutes claimed the prize. Other winners include current CNN host Chris Wallace, Katie Couric, and NBC News anchor Lester Holt.
Oblivious to any conflict of interest in a way that should be odd for a touted media watchdog, Poynter’s 2023 Bowtie Ball was sponsored by a slew of benefactors, including CNN and 60 Minutes. That’s right, CNN financially backed a supposedly independent dress-up award ceremony for its signature anchor.
Selecting Candidates Part of Poynter Mission?
While mocking the haughtiness of this shameless navel-gazing is an easy task indeed, it should be profoundly alarming that Google, which has a stranglehold on the presentation of information on the Internet, is heavily funding a media organization that makes no secret of its overt partisan standing.
“News outlets can continue to call out [former President Donald] Trump’s disturbing language and reckless lies – and more are doing so every day in stronger and stronger terms – but does it mean anything if fellow Republicans and Trump supporters continue to support Trump? Or, at the very least, make excuses for his behavior?” Poynter Senior Media Writer Tom Jones asked in a Nov. 15 screed against the runaway polling leader for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Well, at least it was labeled opinion.
“The media needs to do an even more vigilant job in questioning Trump’s fellow Republicans and those who actually have influence over the party, its members and its supporters,” Jones continued. “The media calling out Trump can be, at times, a bit performative – as if they are talking in their own media echo chamber. News media blast away at Trump’s words not only because they are harmful, but to show other media that they’re doing the right thing. And media observers like yours truly praise those outlets for doing the right thing.”
The takeaway is unmistakable. The Poynter Institute believes it is the job of journalists to tell Republican voters who they are allowed to support for elective office. This is what defining the information ecosystem means.
You can turn off CNN, but getting around Google’s manipulations is not as easy. And that is why there is ultimately nothing funny about a bunch of ego-inflated gatekeepers awash in money shuffling down to Tampa to congratulate themselves.