Indymedia (Independent Media Center or IMC) "is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.
"The Independent Media Center (www.indymedia.org), was established by various independent and alternative media organizations and activists in 1999 for the purpose of providing grassroots coverage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle. The center acted as a clearinghouse of information for journalists, and provided up-to-the-minute reports, photos, audio and video footage through its website. Using the collected footage, the Seattle Independent Media Center (seattle.indymedia.org) produced a series of five documentaries, uplinked every day to satellite and distributed throughout the United States to public access stations." 
The Indymedia network, as any other outlet of information and opinion, is both a potential source and subject of disinformation.
One specific example of disinformation disseminated about the network is the case of an alleged $367,000 dollars donated to the network through the Tides Center 9/11 Fund. This allegation is false.
This allegation seems to have first been made on February 11, 2003 in an article titled 'Subversion in Bush Country' by Brendan Steinhauser (an author for The Austin Review, a conservative campus publication at the University of Texas - Austin). This article was published at FrontPageMagazine.com, which is published by right-wing activist David Horowitz, and affiliated with the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.
The article focused on anti-war activism in Austin, Texas in the early months of 2003, but also served more broadly as a screed against liberal, progressive, and radical activism and organizations. The allegation about the IMC network came near the end of the piece, stating that "The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that the Tides Center had given the Independent Media Center $376,000, ironically, from its "9/11 fund." The Independent Media Center serves as an organizing outpost for protests and was the virtual staging ground for the April 20, 2002, anti-war protest in Washington."
This claim regarding that $367,000 grant has been repeated elsewhere, including in an identical article posted on February 13 by Brendan Steinhauser at the Aggie Review (a conservative campus publication at Texas A & M University). The apparent source of this claim is the Chronicle of Philanthropy magazine's November 15, 2001 issue (subscription req.), which describes itself as 'The Newspaper of the Non-Profit World'.
This claim is also repeated at the ActivistCash.com website, in the section describing the "motivation" of the Tides Foundation and Tides Center. It states that "a November 15, 2001 story, the Chronicle reported that the Tides Center had given the Independent Media Center (IMC) $376,000 -- ironically, from its '9/11 fund.' IMC is a notorious bastion of far left, radical viewpoints, and also serves as an organizing outpost for all sorts of large-scale protest activity." It is possible that this was the source used by Steinhauser in the article cited above.
This claim is not supported by information in the "funding" section at Activist Cash, however, listing "grants to other activist organizations". In fact, the claim of a $367,000 grant would put Indymedia at the top of the list, above such long established organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace.
In fact, an affiliate of Indymedia did receive a grant from the Tides Center 9-11 Fund, but it was for $5000 granted to the Washington DC Independent Media Center. This fact is listed in the Tides Foundation list of Tides 9/11 Fund grantees. The DC IMC received the grant specificially to "provid[e] alternative coverage of responses to September 11th events, including the creation of an Arabic/English language live stream to bridge the cultural divide between the U.S. and the global Muslim community." This was part of an overall $72,500 dispersed to various organizations for "Providing alternative media voices to effectively frame the complex political, social and economic history of this painful crisis." This information is corroborated by the Tides Foundation 2002 annual report (pdf), and by a report titled 'The Philanthropic Response to September 11th' by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- About, Independent Media Center, accessed January 29, 2008.