by Andrew Kerr
Liberal tech billionaire Reid Hoffman, a funder of numerous disinformation projects, is backing a new media venture launched Tuesday that seeks to combat disinformation, according to a report.
Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, joined ranks with financier George Soros to fund Good Information Inc., which will “fund and scale businesses that cut through eco chambers with fact-based information,” Axios reported.
The move comes after Hoffman apologized in December 2018 for bankrolling what he called a “highly disturbing” effort that spread disinformation in the Alabama special election the year prior that resulted in Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeating Republican Roy Moore for a seat in the Senate.
The disinformation project, spearheaded by the tech firm New Knowledge, created fake online personas aimed at generating national news coverage that Russia favored Republicans over Democrats.
Hoffman’s new anti-disinformation media venture will be led by Democratic strategist Tara McGowan, who previously ran the Hoffman-backed nonprofit group ACRONYM.
McGowan told Axios that Good Information Inc. will invest in a variety of news entities across the political spectrum as long as they exhibit fact-based editorial standards.
“The information crisis we’re in is so much bigger than politics,” McGowan said.
Hoffman also backed American Engagement Technology, a group that published misleading Facebook ads designed to depress Republican voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.
In addition, Hoffman contributed $620,000 to the legal fund for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the largely debunked Steele dossier, which the FBI used to advance its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to the Russian government.
ACRONYM, under McGowan’s leadership, funded the development of an application that was responsible for causing massive delays in reporting the results of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses.
McGowan’s group also stated in its 2019 tax returns that it was the full owner of Courier Newsroom, a network of liberal local news outlets that, according to the media credibility watchdog group NewsGuard, failed “to meet several basic standards of credibility and transparency.”
Good Information Inc. will acquire Courier Newsroom from ACRONYM, Axios reported.
McGowan told Axios that she’s disclosing the identities of Good Information Inc.’s investors because “transparency is really important.”
ACRONYM, under McGowan’s leadership, received a Federal Election Commission complaint in 2020 that alleged the group wasn’t transparent about Courier Newsroom’s sources of funding. The complaint alleged that Courier Newsroom was effectively an arm of the Democratic party and as such should be stripped of its tax-exempt status.
While the FEC eventually dropped the complaint, McGowan acknowledged to Axios that she could have been more transparent about her group.
“If I could do things differently, I would have been more transparent,” McGowan said.
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Andrew Kerr is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Reid Hoffman” by Joi Ito. CC BY 2.0.