Thursday, March 4, 2021

NYT Columnist David Brooks Used Perch to Promote His Own Think Tank Project

 Here is more from BuzzFeed:

New York Times columnist David Brooks is drawing a second salary for his work on an Aspen Institute project funded by Facebook and other large donors — a fact he has not disclosed in his columns.

A Times spokesperson refused to tell BuzzFeed News whether the paper was aware Brooks was taking a salary for his work on Weave, a project he founded and leads for the Aspen Institute, a prominent think tank based in Washington, DC. The spokesperson also wouldn’t say if the Times knew that Weave took money from Facebook.

In Dec. 2018, Facebook earmarked a $250,000 gift to the Aspen Institute for the project. Three months later, Brooks introduced Times readers to his concept of “Weavers,” which he described as people who fight social isolation by “building community and weaving the social fabric” across the US.

Brooks began work on Weave in May 2018, according to the Aspen Institute. Its transparency report for that year shows Weave received just over $1.3 million from donors, including the Resnick Family Foundation, the Robert K. Steel Family Foundation, and James Schine Crown, an Aspen Institute trustee who sits on the boards of General Dynamics Corporation and JPMorgan Chase. Weave’s single largest donation, over $300,000, came from Miguel Bezos, the father of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and an Institute trustee.


Aspen Institute, founded in 1949, is headquartered in Washington, DC and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado and on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Update: David Brooks has resigned from the Aspen Institute after more evidence of conflicts emerged.