Think Tanks

Wal-Mart Sends in the Tanks

"As Wal-Mart Stores struggles to rebut criticism from unions and Democratic leaders, the company has discovered a reliable ally," report Michael Barbaro and Stephanie Strom: "prominent conservative research groups like the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the


Some Like It Hot

Numerous climate change skeptics have spent most of the two decades denying increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations were anything to worry about. Donald J. Boudreaux, the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University and an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, takes a different tack.


Funding the Left

Back of one-hundred dollar billThe July 2006 issue of In These Times magazine carries an enlightening and overdue article about how the Left is funded, or not. The New Funding Heresies, written by Senior Editor Christopher Hayes, focuses on the relatively new group of very wealthy liberal and progressive funders called the Democracy Alliance. This group of close to one hundred donors has pledged to individually donate a minimum of $1 million over five years to organizations chosen from a docket that is vetted by the staff and board of the Alliance. In addition, each Democracy Alliance donor pays a $25,000 entry fee and annual dues of $30,000 to cover the operating expenses of the Alliance according to the article.

Thinking About Think Tanks

Juan Cole's website has an interesting commentary by William O. Beeman, titled "The Journalism/Think Tank Merry-Go-Round and the Dilemma of the Academic Public Intellectual." Beeman laments the fact that "think tanks, where no one ever has to go through peer review before publishing the most questionable material, are in the ascendancy. Real scholars are derided as the academy is openly attacked by these quasi-intellectual bodies." So who's to blame?

Lazy, news-cycle driven and subject to the pressure of ideology and publicity flackers, it is so much easier to just call the think tank down the street, or a PR firm like Benador Associates where someone is on call and already in suit and tie, or skirted suit to get to the studio within the next 20 minutes, than to spend the extra half-hour trying to locate an ISDN feed in . . . Minneapolis or Austin to get the best possible expertise on a subject at hand. ...

Sadly, the academy has reacted badly to this state of affairs--not by encouraging its members to shine the light on the slime and mold generated by these propaganda machines, but by fomenting retreat into its own dark little corner where it can be safe and "uncontroversial."


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