The Pacific Policy Institute today launched it's own version of the nonprofit investigative team called CalWatchdog. The Pacific Research Institute is a think tank with strong libertarian-leanings. The group promotes smaller government and free-market ideology and is associated with such think tanks the Cato Institute. But the nonprofit, investigative arm promises to follow traditional media standards:
CalWatchdog’s mission is to uncover governmental waste and shine the light on the misuse of taxpayer dollars. As part of a new wave of nonprofit, Web-based journalism, CalWatchdog adheres to traditional journalistic standards and focuses on improving government transparency.The featured investigation on the site concerns the state water policy and was written by Wayne Lusvardi, a vocal libertarian and former MWD employee from Pasadena who's made his opinions known about state water policy known.
CalWatchdog's board of advisers includes former LA CityBeat publisher Will Swaim, former Republican analyst and now head of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics Dan Schnur, Chapman University professor Tibor Machan, conservative columnist Deroy Murdock, and Cathy Taylor, editorial director for the Orange County Register.
The more eyes on government, the better. But the genesis of this investigative unit does point up the increasingly blurry line between traditional newsrooms and ones born of ideological agendas. As we saw in the row over the Washington Post's partnership with The Fiscal Times, the blurred line can expose traditional media sources to charges of partisan favor. Nonprofit does not necessarily mean non-ideological.