True Ties

Expose the True Ties of "Bought and Biased" Pundits

We’re being tricked, and the media can stop it.

Everyday, industry-funded pundits, masquerading as unbiased experts, have their commentary published and aired by influential media outlets. Often, their commentary raises issues that have a direct financial stake for their funders.

Rarely – if ever – are we informed that the “expert” has gotten money from the industry they're championing. Why?

Top news outlets don’t bother to ask these pundits about their conflicts.

The “Manhattan Institute’s” Robert Bryce is a master of this game. Recently, the New York Times published an op-ed by Mr. Bryce that called renewable energy bad for the environment. The bio line referred to him as “senior fellow” at the Manhattan Institute. CNN published a piece by Mr. Bryce that failed to identify him at all.

Here’s the problem - Mr. Bryce’s employer, the Manhattan Institute, has received more than $6 million in funding from foundations and companies tied to fossil fuels, including Koch Industries and ExxonMobil. Mr. Bryce defended ExxonMobil in the piece CNN published.

Doesn’t that matter? Shouldn’t we know that financial connection? Really, how hard is it for media outlets to ask?

The Times can set the nation’s standard for transparency

By asking contributors like Mr. Bryce to answer a short set of disclosure questions, the New York Times can set the industry standard and ensure their readers get the full story.

Ask the New York Times to lead the nation and implement better disclosure standards. They can stop the “Bryce Masquerade.”

Bought and biased pundits have the right to be heard; but we should know their true ties.

Sign the Petition

Dear NY Times Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane:

Guest writers like Robert Bryce mislead the public by offering expert opinion under innocuous titles like “Senior Fellow.” But often, guest writers like Mr. Bryce, and his employer the Manhattan Institute, receive millions of dollars from industries like fossil fuels to fund their work.

Read the full letter...

While I believe that all voices should be heard, the New York Times can end this confusion and ensure better transparency.

I’m asking that you have guest contributors disclose their true ties to the industries and issues they write about.

As I form my opinion on issues that matter to me, I believe that everyone has the right be heard; I just want to know the true ties funding their speech.


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Media Inquiries:
Scott Peterson, Checks and Balances Project,, (703) 772-6688