Some Chicago area billionaires are bankrolling an internet effort aimed at influencing Illinois politics. The group launched a website about a year ago called “Reboot Illinois” to support their plans.
Is Reboot Illinois journalism, or an on-line propaganda mill? With deep pockets to back it up, the site appears to be thriving.
Madeleine Doubek insists she is still an independent journalist. The former executive editor at the Daily Herald is now the boss at the website called “Reboot Illinois.”
“We are editorially independent and non-partisan,” said Madeleine Doubek, Reboot Illinois.
Reboot is run out of a tiny office of nine people focused daily on Illinois’ fiscal issues, from unpaid bills to unfunded pension debt.
“Twenty cents of every dollar we send to Springfield is going to pensions and we still have the worst funding crisis in the nation,” said Doubek.
Advertising does not pay the salaries or the rent at Reboot. The site is financed by Chicago billionaires and founded by hedge fund manager Anne Dias Griffin, joined later by industrialist Lester Crown and his son James.
“They wouldn’t exist but for that money,” said Henry Bayer, AFSCME 31.
Union leader Henry Bayer suspects Reboot is another attempt by the super-rich to build public contempt for workers and government.