06 March 2021

As Atrios Says

"Time for another blogger ethics panel."

It's a catch phrase of his dating back to the early aughts, that he used, and still uses, whenever a reporter or columnist at one of the major news outlets is caught profiting off of an undisclosed conflict of interest.

This time, it's David Brooks, who was caught taking a full time salary from the Aspen Institute as well as running the Weave Project,  both of which have taken money from Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, the Walton (Walmart) family, and a plethora of corporate sources that he routinely shills for.

Brooks has resigned from the Aspen institute, the status of the rest of his affairs is unclear:

David Brooks has resigned from his position at the Aspen Institute following reporting by BuzzFeed News about conflicts of interest between the star New York Times columnist and funders of a program he led for the think tank.

Eileen Murphy, a spokesperson for the Times, said in a statement that editors approved Brooks's involvement with Aspen in 2018, when he launched a project called Weave. But current editors weren't aware he was receiving a salary for Weave.

Spoiler, he is receiving a salary for Weave.


Brooks’s resignation comes after BuzzFeed News discovered further evidence of conflicts of interest and entanglements with corporate and billionaire donors to Weave.

Brooks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

BuzzFeed News first revealed Brooks never disclosed to Times readers that he takes a full-time salary for his work on Weave, or that its funders include Facebook, the father of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and other wealthy individuals and corporations. Brooks recently wrote a blog post for Facebook’s corporate website in praise of Facebook Groups, a product that has often been a fount of misinformation and hate speech.


Over the past 24 hours, BuzzFeed News discovered new evidence of potential conflicts. On March 15 of last year, as Americans faced a deadly pandemic, Brooks appeared on “Meet The Press” and offered some advice.

"We need to take moral steps to make ourselves decent neighbors to each other as we go through this thing. I think people should get on Nextdoor, this sort of ‘Facebook for neighbors,’” he said.

Left unsaid by Brooks was that Nextdoor, a social network for neighborhoods, had donated $25,000 to Weave. A day before his appearance on the nationally televised NBC program, Brooks also tweeted to his nearly 250,000 followers, “If you know someone who lives alone, ask them to join NextDoor.”

Another new revelation: Last month, Brooks appeared in a Walton Family Foundation video and did not disclose that the organization, run by the billionaire family that founded Walmart, also funds his project.

Brooks’s failure to disclose these conflicts of interest added to the string of ethically questionable actions by the columnist and author related to his work on Weave.

Brooks will survive this, he fits the NYT narrative for a, "Reasonable Conservative," but in a less toxic workplace than the Times newsroom, he would be gone.


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