New Soros-backed activist group to combat ‘disinformation’

George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations, looks before the Joseph A. Schumpeter award ceremony in Vienna, Austria, Friday, June 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

RALEIGH — Courier Newsroom, the political activism group masquerading as a news outlet, has become the first acquisition of a new organization backed by liberal billionaire George Soros and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

The group, “Good Information Inc.,” will seek to combat “disinformation” and will be headed up by former Democratic strategist Tara McGowan.

McGowan is the founder and head of the progressive group ACRONYM, which has a dark money campaign finance arm called PACRONYM. ACROYNM provided the funding behind Courier Newsroom and for Shadow, the company responsible for the voting-by-phone app that had disastrous technical failures during the 2022 Iowa Democratic caucus meetings.

Good Information Inc.’s website states it “will invest in and partner with media companies and platforms that center the communities they serve, their interests, and their media consumption habits in their reporting and their content distribution strategies.”

A target of the group would appear to be social media.

“We believe there is an urgent need for regulation of social media platforms, as well as increased investment in new models that place a higher value on serving communities truth over clickbait and protecting democracy over profits,” reads the Good Information Inc. website.

Axios reported that Good Information Inc. will “fund and scale businesses that cut through echo chambers with fact-based information. As part of its mission, it plans to invest in local news companies.” Additionally, it was reported that Good Information Inc. will acquire ACRONYM’s newsletter on digital political ad spending.

Among advisory board members for Good Information Inc. is Dan Pfeiffer, one of Barack Obama’s former senior advisors. He’s not the only Obama alum in the picture, former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe serves on the board of directors of ACRONYM.

Soros’ involvement is unsurprising, as he is well-known for sinking billions into Democratic and progressive campaigns, as well as being a long-time funder of left-wing non-profits on a global scale. He dropped over $28.3 million into Democratic campaigns in 2020 and has given tens of millions over the years to Hillary Clinton’s main PAC, Priorities USA.

Through his various organizations and network of Open Societies philanthropy groups, Soros has bankrolled campaigns in the past that include electing Democrats into state attorney general roles as well as movements like Black Lives Matter and “defund the police” groups.

A common denominator between Soros and McGowan’s ACRONYM is the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC).

According to a May 2021 report by election spending watchdog OpenSecrets.org, “Billionaire Democratic donor George Soros was the single largest contributor to the committee in 2018, giving $2.6 million in 2018.”

ACRONYM has also been a supplier of digital campaign services for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee run by Eric Holder, former U.S. attorney general under Obama.

Hoffman has provided funding to ACRONYM as well as other progressive non-profits and dark money groups. He’s also been a major donor Democratic campaigns and PACs. His involvement with tackling “disinformation” is raising eyebrows, considering he funded a group that ran a disinformation campaign against Alabama Republican Roy Moore during the 2017 special U.S. Senate election.

American Engagement Technologies (AET), run by a former Obama appointee named Mikey Dickerson, received $750,000 from Hoffman. AET used around $100,000 to run a program that falsely claimed Moore had been backed by the Russian government. Reporting on internal documents shows AET “orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.”

Hoffman subsequently was forced to distance himself from AET and made an apology in late 2018.

In 2020, OpenSecrets.org also issued an in-depth report on dark money networks pumping out hyper-partisan news through what look like “free-standing local news outlets” that are part of a “coordinated effort with deep ties to Democratic political operatives.”

“Courier has faced scrutiny for exploiting the collapse of local journalism to spread “hyperlocal partisan propaganda,” OpenSecrets.org reported.

One of the examples in the OpenSecrets.org report was Cardinal & Pine along with its funding source, ACRONYM.

As previously reported by North State Journal, Cardinal & Pine is run by Billy Ball, a former reporter for the left-leaning N.C. Justice Center’s NC Policy Watch blog.

Ball told North State Journal in 2020 that “Cardinal & Pine is transparently progressive, but facts guide everything that we report.”

“The page’s ads give the appearance of news but are mostly focused on the coronavirus pandemic or on criticizing President Donald Trump,” OpenSecrets.org wrote of Cardinal & Pine’s Facebook ad buys.

Between May 2018 and July 12, 2020, Cardinal & Pine spent $87,078 on Facebook ads, four of which promoted Cardinal & Pine articles targeting U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). During roughly the same time period, Courier Newsroom spent almost $1.48 million on political and election-related Facebook ads.

About A.P. Dillon 533 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_