Liberal donors dole out plenty of money, too, of course, and the Center for Public Integrity acknowledged that, noting that it had received funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Tides Foundation. But those groups are markedly more transparent about where the money comes from and where it goes, the report argued.

Abowd didn’t respond to an email asking how he’d clued into Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, but it seems reasonable to assume that he followed the same path Goldenberg did, with the documents that Gleick obtained from Heartland serving as the trailhead.

The latest revelations don’t exactly excuse Gleick’s actions, however. The files that he distributed were only the inspiration for deeper digging, which more journalists should be pursing as a matter of course. A recent report found that news outlets regularly quote think tanks that receive money from fossil-fuel interests, but only mention the industry funding 6 percent of the time. Obviously, that’s the way a lot of very wealthy people want it.

It’s the press’s job to disappoint them.

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Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.