Kentucky governor blasts local newspaper's alliance with Soros-backed journalism outlet

Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin blasted the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper Wednesday for partnering with ProPublica, an investigative journalism outlet whose backers include liberal financier George Soros.

In a YouTube video, Bevin accuses the outlet, ProPublica, of left-wing bias and also tears into the local paper.

“This is the same Courier-Journal, mind you, which, while it’s dying, continues to maintain that they are unbiased, that they are good journalists and that they are interested in transparency, and holding government ... accountable,” Bevin says in the video. “Who’s holding the Courier-Journal accountable?”

“Who’s holding the Courier-Journal accountable?”

— Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin

Bevin also criticizes ProPublica’s founders, Herbert and Marion Sandler, who have donated to progressive causes and groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union. He says the news organization receives funding from Democratic donors, including Soros, whom he nicknamed George “I hate America” Soros.

Soros, a frequent target of Republican critics, supports ProPublica through the Open Society Foundations.

The Courier-Journal announced Wednesday that it is one of several local newspapers partnering with ProPublica's Local Reporting Network with the aim of investigating an unspecified state program.

“While the past year has seen yet more cutbacks at local news organizations, the ProPublica Local Reporting Network has been a bright spot nationally,” ProPublica senior editor Charles Ornstein said in a statement. “We couldn’t be happier with the accountability journalism produced by our inaugural class and are excited to pursue another year of investigative projects with moral force.”

FILE - In this May 29, 2018, file photo, philanthropist George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, attends the European Council On Foreign Relations Annual Meeting in Paris. (Associated Press)

FILE - In this May 29, 2018, file photo, philanthropist George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, attends the European Council On Foreign Relations Annual Meeting in Paris. (Associated Press)

"The project is part of an initiative ProPublica launched last year to help strengthen coverage of state government at a time when many news organizations are cutting back because of economic conditions," the Courier-Journal said.

Bevin urged Kentuckians to not believe the paper.

“This is the sad reality of the Courier-Journal, which pretends that it’s an actual news organization or a publication, is so remarkably biased they are now full in bed with this particular organization,” Bevin said.

“The fact that you take yourselves seriously is remarkable to me,” he said. “I encourage everybody to just disregard the nonsense that comes out of this biased, left-wing organization. The Courier-Journal is a sad shadow of what it once was,” he continued.

“I encourage everybody to just disregard the nonsense that comes out of this biased, left-wing organization. The Courier-Journal is a sad shadow of what it once was.” 

— Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin

In a tweet, the Courier-Journal responded to Bevin by saying: “We’re excited to get started!”

On Twitter, ProPublica linked out to a Courier-Journal story published in September that reported Bevin hired an Army buddy to serve as the state chief information officer. After less than a year on the job, Bevin gave Charles Grindle a $215,000 pay raise – or 134 percent – an unusual bump in pay.

"P.S. Our new partners at the @courierjournal have been doing lots of good work, like this recent story about how @GovMattBevin hired a buddy for a govt job and then gave him a $215,000 raise," the organization tweeted.

Other news organizations partnering with ProPublica for state investigations include the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, W. Va., the Connecticut Mirror, the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., and the Sacramento Bee in California.