State Taxpayers Bankrolling Alabama Political Reporter's Liberal Sleaze and Anti-GOP Screeds

State Taxpayers Bankrolling Alabama Political Reporter's Liberal Sleaze and Anti-GOP Screeds

[] –In a state dominated by Republican governance, it might come as a surprise to find substantial state funds flowing to progressive, left-wing media outlets. Yet, in Alabama, this appears to be more the norm than an exception.

Much like the national trend, Alabama's media landscape skews left-leaning. Historically, the state’s legacy media outlets have openly or covertly promoted a liberal narrative and ideology. This tradition continued with the arrival of the Alabama Political Reporter (APR), founded by Bill and Susan Britt in 2011.

The front pages of APR are often filled with the commentary of Bill Britt and Alabama journalism’s notable figure, Josh Moon, typically centered on a singular theme: conservatives are bad.

In a state that overwhelmingly supported former President Donald Trump, has a Republican governor, and a Republican supermajority in the legislature, one might assume such a media entity would receive minimal financial backing from state agencies. However, recent financial records reveal otherwise.

In fiscal year 2024, spanning October 2023 to September 2024, state agencies have paid nearly $95,000 to APR for advertising. Specifically, the Secretary of State’s office contributed $12,700, the Department of Corrections (ADOC) $17,820, and the Department of Transportation (ALDOT) $63,750. Adding another $3,000 from the State Port Authority brings the total to nearly $100,000.

This marks a significant increase from previous years. In the 2023 fiscal year, state agencies paid barely $17,000 to APR, and just under $37,000 the year before. 

In contrast, the Alabama Media Group (AMG), which oversees the state's largest news site, received just over $13,000 in the 2024 fiscal year compared to $192,000 from state agencies in fiscal year 2023.

The relationship between state funding and APR’s content raises questions. For example, APR has historically been highly critical of ADOC, often publishing opinion pieces condemning its policies. However, after ADOC issued a check to APR in May, coverage on the execution of Jamie Ray Mills notably lacked any discussion of the DOJ lawsuit and previous botched executions, a stark departure from its typical critical stance.

ALDOT, APR’s largest financial contributor, has also enjoyed favorable coverage. When ALDOT director John Cooper was arrested on a misdemeanor charge, APR’s reporting was minimal and favorable. Instead of in-depth coverage of the incident, APR’s Bill Britt published a laudatory opinion piece defending Cooper.

Similarly, when discussing a recently passed bill on ballot harvesting backed by Secretary of State Wes Allen, another APR advertiser, APR’s coverage was uncharacteristically mild.

Beyond potential conflicts of interest, APR has a history of harshly criticizing Republicans. In 2018, shortly after Attorney General Steve Marshall’s wife’s tragic suicide, Britt published an opinion piece blaming Marshall for his wife’s struggles. 

APR’s treatment of Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) has been equally scathing. APR has repeatedly targeted Tuberville, often portraying him in an extremely negative light.

These examples underscore a concerning trend: state funds appear to be supporting a media outlet that frequently attacks the very political figures running the state. This situation highlights a complex and potentially problematic relationship between state financing and media content, raising significant questions about bias, accountability, and transparency in Alabama's political and media landscape.