Interestingly, we are not the only one asking whether gifts by the Gates Foundation affect coverage of its activities, Bill Gates and Microsoft. After we reported concerns about Crosscut's post-publication deletion of a critical paragraph on Microsoft's Nevada tax dodge (carried in the Seattle Post Globe today as well), the Weekly asks whether the Gates Foundation's gifts to ABC News will affect how it's portrayed.
He's no Rupert Murdoch, but Bill Gates is making another media investment: His foundation will help fund a project at ABC News to increase its coverage of health conditions of the poor. It further expands the billionaire's investments in the news media, which could help influence the stories they cover. While the latest effort is a good cause, he is effectively paying ABC, as he has others media outlets, to report on his foundation's efforts—presumably favorably.
Interestingly, I just returned from the World Editors Forum in Hamburg where a journalism colleague who works frequently in Africa says the Gates Foundation is making similar investments there.
Apparently, the foundation pays to place journalists in African newsrooms to report on health issues. But, it's a give a man a fish (journalist) model, not teach a man to fish. After one year, the journalist moves on with their knowledge. She thought that the foundation was essentially paying for coverage of its health-based activities.