In a three-part investigation published at The Nation, Tim Schwab explored the opaque operations of the Gates Foundation. Schwab’s work reveals how the super-rich transform money into power and raises vital questions about the undemocratic hold that billionaires wield over public policy. Schwab’s groundbreaking reports on the Gates Foundation outlined complicated financial conflicts of interest, potential self-dealing, and the dominant influence in the field of global health. With independent tax experts estimating Bill Gates’s personal tax savings from philanthropy to be as high as $14 billion—potential tax revenue diverted to fund private pet projects— Schwab’s findings also raise questions about how the public good is undermined by loopholes that favor the extremely wealthy.
“Bill Gates is a singularly powerful private citizen and the Gates Foundation is a dominant force globally, yet the mainstream media has all but avoided anything but hagiography when dealing with them,” said the judges. Schwab has “brilliantly gone where journalists belong, and he has taken both Gates and the Gates Foundation into account for their actual conduct and their clear self-interest,” doing the “hard digging and thoughtful analysis that exemplifies fearless, independent journalism at its best,” the judges concluded.
Schwab is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C., whose multi-part Nation investigation into the Gates Foundation was part of a 2019 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship.
The Izzy Award is named for I. F. “Izzy” Stone, the dissident journalist who launched I. F. Stone’s Weekly in 1953 and questioned McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, racial injustice, and government deceit. This year’s judges were Robert W. McChesney, professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Raza Rumi, director of the Park Center for Independent Media; Jeff Cohen, founding PCIM director and founder of FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting); and Patricia Rodriguez, associate professor and chair of the Department of Politics at Ithaca College.
For more information on the Park Center for Independent Media, visit www.ithaca.edu/indy.