Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,257,895
Expenses: $1,258,047
Assets: $302,134


Left-Wing Media Outlet

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Truthout is a left-of-center online news organization. The watchdog organization Media Bias Fact Check classifies Truthout as “strongly Left Biased” with a “mixed” record for factual reporting. 1

The website’s editor-in-chief is Maya Schenwar, an activist for abolishing the prison system. 2 Senior columnist William Rivers Pitt worked as press secretary for the 2004 presidential campaign of left-wing U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). 3 The organization associates with numerous figures aligned with the radical left: former militant extremist William Ayers, left-wing messaging guru George Lakoff, Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot, and Marxian economist Richard Wolff, among others, sit on the group’s board of advisors. 4

Truthout is perhaps most notable for its publication of an erroneous report that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would indict George W. Bush White House advisor Karl Rove for perjury5 in a leak case. 6

Organizational Overview

Truthout describes itself as an alternative source of news to the “corporate media,” which Rivers Pitt labels a farce. 7 An example of Truthout’s viewpoint is the left leaning series they published titled, “Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect.” This series is authored by various left leaning writers and Truthout’s leadership. The series paints American police forces as racist institutions created to defend only the wealthy and inflict violence on people of color and other minorities. 8


Support for Truthout comes from assorted left-leaning foundations and individual contributors. Major foundation donors include the Schumann Media Center, the Lannan Foundation, and the Cloud Mountain Foundation. 9Other donors include former militant extremist and academic William Ayers. 10 Another donor is the Park Foundation,11 an environmentalist grantmaking group focused on opposing fracking, or drilling for natural gas. 12


Erroneous Reporting

In 2006, Truthout published a story by Jason Leopold, a journalist with a history of making false and erroneous reports, claiming that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would indict George W. Bush White House political advisor Karl Rove. 13 Fitzgerald did not indict Rove;14 Truthout asserted for a brief period after Fitzgerald informed Rove he would not be charged that Rove was under a “sealed indictment.” Then-Truthout editor Mark Ash later said, “We are going to stand down on the Rove matter at this time. We defer instead to the nation’s leading publications.” 15

William Rivers Pitt, now senior editor and lead columnist for Truthout, had allegedly validated the inaccurate Karl Rove indictment story in a posting at the left-wing user-submission website Democratic Underground. 16 Pitt has also circulated unreliable rumors on the site: He once claimed that TurboTax had been hacked and thousands of tax records had been exposed. The truth that TurboTax had never been hacked later emerged, and Pitt’s claim was again proved erroneous. 17

Associations with Radical Figures

William Ayers, a one-time militant extremist in the 1960s and 1970s associated with the extreme-left Students for a Democratic Society splinter group Weather Underground, is on the board of advisors for Truthout. 18 While the government never successfully prosecuted Ayers, Weather Underground militants sought to destroy property and place nail bombs at a U.S. military facility. Weathermen activities allegedly killed one police officer and a separate incident caused the deaths of three Weather Underground operatives and other Weathermen terror group members. As of 2008, the New York Times reported that Ayers “was evasive as to which bombings he had a hand in, writing that ‘some details cannot be told’.” 19

Truthout’s Board of Advisers includes Jodie Evans, co-founder of left of center organization CodePink (styled CODEPINK) and self-described revolutionary. 20 Another member of the board is “Hulk” actor Mark Ruffalo, who partnered with left-wing U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the audiobook version of Sanders’s autobiography. 21


  1. “Truth Out.” Media Bias/Fact Check. April 7, 2019. Accessed May 15, 2019.
  2. Truthout. “Staff.” Truthout. Accessed May 15, 2019.
  3. “William Rivers Pitt.” William Rivers Pitt | Americans Who Tell The Truth. Accessed May 15, 2019.
  4. Truthout. “Staff.” Truthout. Accessed May 15, 2019.
  5. Cockburn, Alexander. “The Hot Air Factory.” The Nation. June 15, 2006. Accessed May 11, 2019.
  6. “Jason Leopold Caught Sourceless Again.” Columbia Journalism Review. Accessed May 11, 2019.
  7. “Truthout’s William Rivers Pitt on the “Perfect Propaganda” in the Corporate Media.” Democracy Now! January 24, 2005. Accessed May 12, 2019.
  8. Garza, Alicia. “What’s the Future of Resistance to Racist Police Violence?” Truthout. Accessed May 12, 2019.
  9. Data compiled by subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted May 17, 2019.
  10. Truthout. “Annual Report 2017-2018.” Accessed May 17, 2019.
  11. Data compiled by subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted May 17, 2019.
  12. Williams, Tate. “The Family Foundation That’s Become a Hero for Fracking Opponents.” Inside Philanthropy. April 25, 2014. Accessed May 12, 2019.
  13. McLeary, Paul. “Jason Leopold Caught Sourceless Again.” Columbia Journalism Review. June 13, 2006. Accessed May 17, 2019.
  14. Johnston, David, and Jim Rutenberg. “Rove Won’t Face Indictment in C.I.A. Leak Case.” The New York Times. June 13, 2006. Accessed May 17, 2019.
  15. Cockburn, Alexander. “The Left and the Blathersphere.” June 19, 2006. Accessed May 17, 2019.
  16. Grieve, Tim. “Karl Rove, Jason Leopold and the Hunt for the Truth.” Salon. September 25, 2011. Accessed May 11, 2019.
  17. “Democratic Underground Fraudster Will Pitt Publicly Corrected by TurboTax for Posting False Hacking ‘Scoop’.” NewsBusters. Accessed May 11, 2019.
  18. Truthout. “Staff.” Truthout. Accessed May 11, 2019.
  19. Shane, Scott. “Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths.” The New York Times. October 03, 2008. Accessed May 11, 2019.
  20. [1] “Jodie Evans.” CODEPINK. Accessed May 12, 2019.
  21. “Audio Book Review: Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders, Read by the Author and Mark Ruffalo. Macmillan Audio, , Unabridged, 16 CDs, 18 Hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-8533-1.” Accessed May 12, 2019.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Jason Leopold
    Former Investigative Reporter
  2. George Lakoff
    Contributing Writer
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: April - March
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2005

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Apr Form 990 $1,257,895 $1,258,047 $302,134 $3,001 N $1,254,880 $0 $810 $128,000
    2016 Apr Form 990 $1,244,955 $1,370,449 $302,285 $3,000 N $1,242,573 $0 $966 $192,000 PDF
    2015 Apr Form 990 $1,147,879 $1,439,054 $433,779 $9,000 N $1,145,668 $0 $1,325 $192,512
    2014 Apr Form 990 $1,424,687 $1,487,348 $715,954 $0 N $1,422,922 $0 $1,462 $97,684 PDF
    2013 Apr Form 990 $1,449,464 $1,634,534 $778,615 $0 N $1,445,183 $0 $3,173 $139,086 PDF
    2012 Apr Form 990 $1,946,891 $1,635,713 $963,691 $0 N $1,944,462 $0 $2,429 $65,700 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)


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