Some media outlets receive funding from nonprofit foundations to stay open, and an ethical problem arises, i.e. do private foundations pollute the freedom of the press.
"Over the past year, we've regularly explored the question of whether philanthropy-backed journalism is inherently problematic. We've wondered whether media outlets that take money from funders that have an agenda can ever really be unbiased, given that nobody likes to bite the hand that feeds them, whatever safeguards or firewalls may be in place to ensure editorial independence. Also, by underwriting reporting on certain topics, funders can shape what media outlets do and do not cover in the first place.
"One pattern we've noticed that is that media funding by liberal donors is much more likely to fly under the radar than such funding by centrist or conservative funders. A case in point: The Arnold Foundation's gift last year to a PBS station to cover pension issues caused a major flap (and a return of that gift), but grants to public radio to cover health issues by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has a strong policy agenda in this area, have elicited barely a peep of criticism. One could imagine the uproar if the Koch brothers were writing those checks."--Stefanie Garden, Inside Philanthropy