Why Current and Former Employees Are Trashing Left-Wing Propaganda Operative Tara McGowan

Courier Newsroom is funded by Apple billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, who employs PR firm that represented Harvey Weinstein, Jussie Smollett

March 18, 2022

Courier Newsroom, a billionaire-funded network of Democratic propaganda websites posing as legitimate local publications, is a terrible place to work, according to current and former employees.

Recently posted reviews on Glassdoor portray company founder and longtime Democratic operative Tara McGowan as a "soap opera villainess" whose rudderless incompetence and "constant gaslighting" are driving employees insane.

One former director who worked at Courier for more than a year wrote that McGowan is "making progressive politics lame again. She's basically Anna Delvey. Everyone else is paying for it while she grifts." Another former employee called her the "Ja Rule of the progressive political world" and urged prospective employees to "STAY AWAY."

The Glassdoor reviews describe a dysfunctional workplace environment that is a direct consequence of McGowan's inadequate leadership. "Company culture is about performative unity and a fervent belief in a 'mission' that at times feels like a means to excuse a culture that inspires horrible burn out," a then-associate editor wrote in October 2021. "Courier functions like a melodramatic caricature of a media startup's greatest weaknesses held together by staff rotating like Spinal Tap drummers and empty platitudes."

Several current and former employees complained that McGowan and other political operatives in leadership roles "have no news background" and aren't interested in doing actual journalism. On the contrary, these employees said "honest journalism" was "actively discouraged" in favor of "propaganda" that is "only concerned with the agenda of the progressive left" and the overlapping interests of Courier's billionaire backers, including George Soros and Apple widow Laurene Powell Jobs.

"Stop lying to yourself and your employees. ... Get your story straight. Are you a journalistic venture or a political one?" wrote one former employee in the "Advice to Management" section of the Glassdoor review on Feb. 7. Another former employee, writing on Feb. 22, complained that McGowan cynically cited "low-information voters" as the target audience for the company's propaganda campaigns.

Of course, many of Courier's critics have known all along that McGowan, who previously served as digital director of the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA, was only ever interested in peddling left-wing propaganda on behalf of her wealthy benefactors. Gabby Deutch, a correspondent for the nonpartisan media watchdog NewsGuard, wrote in a February 2020 Washington Post op-ed that McGowan was "exploiting the widespread loss of local journalism to create and disseminate something we really don't need: hyperlocal partisan propaganda."

Nevertheless, reporters from ostensibly serious publications such as the New York Times have lavished McGowan with praise for the "really essential work" she does, as well as her desire to be "an offensive player" in the battle over so-called media disinformation. McGowan's latest venture, Good Information Inc., has a similar mission and has received favorable coverage since its formation in 2021. Good Information, which is backed by Soros and other left-wing billionaires, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, recently hired RC Di Mezzo, the former national press secretary for the scandal-plagued Lincoln Project.

Powell Jobs and her investment firm Emerson Collective were not involved in funding Good Information, a spokesperson for the firm told the Washington Free Beacon. The spokesperson worked for Sunshine Sachs, the "bare-knuckle" crisis PR firm best known for representing Hollywood rapist and longtime Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein, as well as hate-crime hoaxer and Hillary Clinton donor Jussie Smollett.