Friday, September 06, 2002

Seeing The Forest did a little research:

I did something fun today. I went to the Heritage Foundation's and looked up some right-wing organizations. All I did was sort by "National Research Organizations" so it shows me the entire list.

Then I started picking a right-wing organization at random and going to Cursor's Media Transparency to see who is funding them. I did this several times. Guess what I found? There are hundreds of right-wing organizations, but they are almost all funded by a foundation whose name contains Scaife, Olin or Bradley, and a few others.

The public, the media and policymakers think they hear a wide range of voices. For example, you might see on C-SPAN or MSNBC a panel with experts from five or six different organizations. But in fact the likelihood is you are hearing the voice of Scaife, Olin, Bradley or one or two other billionaires. NO WONDER so much of the national policy debate is about giving huge tax cuts to billionaires!

Try it yourself.
Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not about to rail against these organizations and those that fund them. What always astounded me, however, is how relatively cheap the whole enterprise is. According to David Brock, Scaife funds the whole thing for, what, 57 million or so a year? That's chump change; easily matched by someone who wanted to support the media and research arm of any liberal movement.

The catch, of course, is that there is no such movement, so how could you fund it? Between far leftists attacking the center-left in order to ensure that they're sufficiently "radical", "critical", and free of supposed hypocrisy and centrist neo-liberals (like Mickey Kaus) bashing everyone to the left of them in order to disassociate themselves with the far left and ingratiate themselves with the right, there's more movement apart than together. It's a shame. If there's one thing that the neo-cons have taught everybody else, it's that a sense of movement identity, properly channeled and exploited, can lead to extraordinary power and influence.

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