Is there a Common Core bias in mainstream media? And if yes, could it be due to the generous flow of money from Bill Gates? Bill Gates, known for his support of Common Core has been pumping millions through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation into media outlets towards education coverage.
In September of 2013, NBC under the name NBCUniversal, received a 1.3 million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation “to support the 2013 Education Nation Summit’s Teacher Town Hall and expand education coverage.” That’s $1,340,000, to be exact. The Gates Foundation shows it also awarded NBC $1,000,000 in 2012 to support the Education Nation Summit and $2,033,500 in 2010 to support the “National Education Summit”
EDweek reported that the 2011 summit opened with Brian Williams stating this:
“Gates Foundation, one of the sponsors of this event, and the largest single funder of education anywhere in the world. It’s their facts that we’re going to be referring to often to help along our conversation.”
Select education articles from NBCnews.com ends with this note: “Education coverage for NBCNews.com is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. NBC News retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.”
NBC is not the only news outlet accepting money from Gates. NPR has been receiving Gates money for education coverage since 2006, plus millions more for increased coverage of health issues—including a 2013 4.5 million grant “to advance global health and development coverage”.
NPR is not as transparent in reminding its audience of its support from the Gates Foundation. In an article highlighting the benefits of the software Course Signals, a disclosure statement was only added after a commenter posted the Gates connection. “Disclosure: As a commenter points out below, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is a supporter of NPR programming including NPR Ed, has given Pistilli a grant to expand the use of Course Signals.”
NPR education grants from Gates include:
2006: $750,00 “to promote, through NPR’s coverage of education issues, informed discourse and provide nearly 26 million weekly listeners with the information they need to thoughtfully evaluate public policies and program choices.”
2009: $750,000 “to support coverage of education issues on NPR programs, including the “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
2013: 1.8 million “to expand NPR education coverage and broaden its audience’s engagement on the issue.”
As if NBC and NPR weren’t enough, other media organizations have been on the take from the Gates foundation as well.
Editorial Projects in Education Inc (www.edweek.com)
- In 2011, received 2 million “to support the development of a new coverage area focusing on the education industry and innovation in K-12 education.
Education Writers Association (www.ewa.org)
- In 2008 received 1.3 million (and change) “to enhance media coverage of high school and post-secondary education by offering seminars and online training for reporters, building bridges between mainstream and ethnic community media, and supporting capacity building efforts”
- In 2009 received $110,00 “to support media coverage of the education components of American Recovery and Reconstruction Act through the construction and maintenance of the Stimulus Tracker website.”
Teachers College, Columbia University (http://www.tc.columbia.edu/ )
- In 2009 received $652,493 “to support the development of high quality education coverage in the nation’s leading newspapers and magazines.”
Brookings Institution (http://www.brookings.edu/global)
- In 2009 received $501,210 “to improve media coverage of secondary and post-secondary education.”