Kentucky Governor Denies Attack on ProPublica Is anti-Semitic Despite Singling Out Jewish Donors

Among the funders Republican Gov. Matt Bevin names are the founders of ProPublica, Herbert and Marion Sandler, who have given over a billion dollars to largely progressive philanthropic causes and billionaire George Soros

Governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin watches as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again rally in Richmond, Kentucky, U.S., October 13, 2018.
JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS

Kentucky’s governor denied his attack on a collaboration between a local newspaper and investigative journalism project ProPublica was anti-Semitic because he singled out Jewish funders of ProPublica.

Among the funders Republican Gov. Matt Bevin names are the founders of ProPublica, Herbert and Marion Sandler, who have given over a billion dollars to largely progressive philanthropic causes, and billionaire George Soros, a frequent target of anti-Semitic, right-wing conspiracy theories.  Bevin called him “George (I Hate America) Soros” in a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday blasting the partnership shortly after it was announced.

“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 in the video.

In a tweet in which he included the video, Bevin wrote: “OUTRAGEOUS. ProPublica, a left-wing activist group funded by the likes of George Soros, is now funding . . . ‘investigative reporting’ at the @courierjournal. Is this the future of journalism?”

ProPublica’s director, Richard Tofel, on Twitter suggested Bevin’s attack was “dog whistling anti-Semitism in which he can’t manage to use the word ‘Jewish.’”

ProPublica, a non-profit, has on multiple times joined with mainstream media outlets in long investigative pieces and won several Pulitzer Prizes.

The Courier-Journal is one of seven local papers selected to work with ProPublica to investigate an unspecified state government program.

A number of Republicans and conservatives, including President Donald Trump have in recent months intensified attacks on Soros, sometimes in terms that echo anti-Semitic themes of Jewish control.