February 19, 2011
By Sandi Doughton and Kristi Heim
Did you catch ABC’s recent special on an incubator to boost preemie survival in Africa and a new machine to diagnose tuberculosis in the developing world?
Perhaps you saw Ray Suarez’s three-part series on poverty and AIDS in Mozambique on the PBS NewsHour. Or listened to Public Radio International’s piece on the rationing of kidney dialysis in South Africa.
Beyond their subject matter, these reports have something else in common: They were all bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Better-known for its battles against global disease, the giant philanthropy has also become a force in journalism.
The foundation’s grants to media organizations such as ABC and The Guardian, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, raise obvious conflict-of-interest questions: How can reporting be unbiased when a major player holds the purse strings?