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Buying of the President – Public Integrity and Al Jazeera America

The Center has announced a groundbreaking deal with Al Jazeera America.

Under a project negotiated by our Money & Politics supremo John Dunbar, Al Jazeera has agreed to work with us on a package of investigative reporting under the Buying of the President brand, made famous by Chuck Lewis in the early days of the Center.

It’s imaginative and a great example of “earned income” to add to the mix of revenue we have, predominantly of course from our philanthropic funders.

Al Jazeera has already been a strong partner for Public Integrity, with Dave Levinthal a regular commentator.

The deal has actually been in place for some weeks and we’ve run pieces together, including the fun-but-worrying piece by Michael Beckel on a dodgy super-PAC supposedly supporting Bernie Sanders to which 007 “James Bond” gave money.

More meaty fare is our constant analysis of where the money in the race is coming from and going such as this piece, also by Michael and Carrie Levine.

In his inimitable fashion Chris Zubak-Skees brought the money race for the presidency to life with this interactive and its very nice raised/spent/cash on hand views.

Here’s what we said about the Al Jazeera deal and here’s how they described it.

Executive editor Gordon Witkin notes too that apart from me mentioning Michael, Carrie and Chris there, they and John Dunbar, digital lead Kim Porteous and Ben Wieder worked late into the night and early morning on the election data material as they do every time there is a debate or a fresh release of the election funding data. It’s a mission.

“Big marijuana” in Ohio

Liz Essley Whyte has been tracking a developing story on Ohio, where there’s a heavily funded move to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use. She reports on what sounds almost like a “Big Marijuana” lobby, certainly well-financed, behind the proposed legislation. It’s a fascinating twist and another use of our CMAG advertising data source.

What we’re reading (or thinking about)

The Prospero columnist in The Economist asks why Businessmen in movies are always the bad guys.

Edward Luce, a Washington correspondent of the Financial Times, creates a lovely image in a piece originally headlined “Banana Republicans” which then drew an amusing letter from a US reader.

The FT has also done a terrific job on the oil money and other income feeding ISIS. Great, risky, work.

I welcome any feedback on this note.

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Peter Bale was the Center for Public Integrity's CEO from 2015 to 2016.