by Jonathan Reisman
The major daily newspapers in Portland, Lewiston, Brunswick, Augusta and Waterville, as well as a number of local weeklies in southern and mid-coast Maine have been purchased by the non-profit “charity “(for the purpose of collecting tax-deductible contributions) Trust for Local News. The papers had previously been purchased by Reade Brower. Prior to that, the Portland, Augusta and Waterville dailies had been owned by hedge fund oligarch, Democratic donor Donald Sussman, who at the time was married to left wing progressive Hamas apologist 1st District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. When the Portland, Augusta and Waterville papers were originally sold, the left wing establishment in southern Maine had something of a panic attack until Mr. Sussman swooped in. The leftists feared that their ability to control the narrative with the “first draft of history” would be compromised by any not fully committed leftist owner; Sussman and Brower were acceptable, if a bit too capitalist and profit oriented for progressive tastes. With the bulk of southern Maine journalism now comfortably in the hands of woke social and environmental justice warriors, the left should be happy.
The Chief Portfolio Officer of the Trust for Local News gave a presentation at the recent Maine Press Association annual meeting on his organization’s plans and vision. He also unveiled the Trust’s “Launch Committee” which will “develop” their inaugural Board. From my reading of this group and previous experience responding to Maine Public’s plea for citizen board members, right of center Mainers need not apply. The Trust will probably heavily promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, but not inconvenient political and intellectual diversity which might hamper its promotion of mis- and dis- information conducive to the leftist narrative. If you do not have one of these signs in your yard, do not bother to apply, although like Maine Public and the Maine Monitor, they will be happy to take your tax-deductible donation:
Lori Villagra of the still profit oriented but donation accepting Bangor Daily News reported on the presentation, but declined to list the launch committee members or offer any analysis or comment on the left leaning list (although any seasoned Maine political observer could draw that obvious conclusion simply by looking at the list.) To wit:
At least 75% of the Board is reliably leftist, including Alfond, Williams, Hutchins, Capetto, Andersen, Sterling, Pariser and Cummings. Katz is a token Republican, a former GOP State Senator and not a conservative by any definition. Pensiero is a former Wall Street Journal editor (the news side of that operation is decidedly more liberal than the editorial board), and her Blue Hill residence is a red flag. Shore, Mestrich and Stodder I do not know but odds are left of center or worse.
The Trust for Local News looks set to provide reliable progressive pablum, promote climate alarmism, anti-racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, abortion on demand and the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future- in other words, no real change in the established journalistic landscape in southern and mid-coast Maine. Unfortunately for the legacy media, they have so far been unable to prevent entry and/or completely silence conservatives, and the online right-of-center The Maine Wire has been regularly scooping them while eating greens for lunch.