Several of Maine’s largest newspapers – formerly owned by Masthead Media Company – will now fall under the ownership of a nonprofit trust funded by left-wing billionaires George Soros, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and a collection of like-minded progressives foundations and nonprofits.
The Portland Press Herald and its related daily papers were sold to the National Trust for Local News several months after former owner Reade Brower announced his intention to offload parts of his sprawling newspaper business.
Neither Brower nor leadership of the Trust disclosed the purchase price. According to the Press Herald, the paper will be run under the Trust’s “Maine Trust for Local News”.
News of the sale led to intense speculation about the future of the media firm — both in terms of its operations and its ideological direction.
Prior to Brower, some of the daily newspapers were owned by billionaire hedge fund tycoon S. Donald Sussman, a prolific donor to Democrats in Maine and nationally. Sussman at the time was married to Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-CD1).
During that time, the papers’ reporting and editorial content was reliably left-wing and seldom criticized Rep. Pingree.
That pattern mostly continued under Brower’s ownership.
Following Brower’s announcement that he was interested in selling the papers, former Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz formed a nonprofit and solicited donations in a bid to takeover the paper.
Nemitz’s effort, despite receiving statewide publicity, raised less than $70,000.
That money was reportedly given to the Trust.
The Press Herald also reported that the Trust plans to share more information about the identities of the people who specifically donated to support the purchase in the future, but its website offers some clues in a section listing donors to the national Trust.
According to the Trust’s website, George Soros’ “Open Society Foundations” and Pierre Omidyar’s “Democracy Fund” are both financial contributors to the organization.
Other funders have ties to the left-wing dark money operation run by Arabella Advisors.
The Open Society Foundation is a progressive nonprofit that has spent more than $400 million per year on U.S.-based projects since 2020.
The group funds a broad array of left-wing political work, including legal assistance for asylum seekers and migrants facing deportation, as well as the liberal investigative reporting outfit ProPublica.
Another top left-wing donor to the Trust is eBay founder Pierre Omidyar through his “Democracy Fund“.
Omidyar is also a top financial contributor to several liberal nonprofits that are active in Maine politics.
The Klarman Family Foundation is another left-of-center grant making organization that has supported the Trust and has given millions of dollars to groups aligned with Arabella Advisors.
The Gates Family Foundation is not affiliated with Bill Gates, though Gates has in the past given financial support to Arabella-aligned groups.
How will the left-wing funding sources affect the newspapers’ coverage?
Probably not much. It’s hard to imaging the newspapers becoming anymore left-wing than they have been for more than a decade.