In May 2008, the major law firm Hunton & Williams launched the Water Policy Institute (WPI), a think tank-esque, industry-supported consortium formed "to address water supply, quality and use issues," according to its website.
Liberal think tanks and advocacy organizations formed during the Bush/Cheney regime are working in close and well-funded coordination as a PR messaging machine for the Obama Administration's foreign and domestic policies. A Washington Post blog noted that the Center for American Progress is now running Progressive Media which was begun by Tom Matzzie and David Brock in 2008 and now "represents a serious ratcheting up of efforts to present a united liberal front in the coming policy wars." Progressive Media is a joint project with CAP and Brock's Media Matters Action Network and "headed by well-known liberal operative Tara McGuinness." Matzzie recently reminisced about his work with MoveOn's "Tara McGuinness, Eli Pariser and others" organizing Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. Today MoveOn, USAction and others in that coalition are working hard to push Obama's policies, including rationalizlng or defending his escalation of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan as "sustainable security."
"Since the financial crisis began, the corporate and philanthropic foundations and donors who gird most think tanks have become stingier about their grants," reports David Weigel. He notes that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank that was one of the most prominent cheerleaders for the Bush administration's policies, has had to cut back on projects and staff.
Conservative think tanks like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation have degenerated into "moribund blogging societies," say out-of-power conservatives. "These days, to hear Republicans tell it, the conservative movement’s intellectual and strategic thunderbolts seem to be emanating, instead, from ...
In the spring semester of 2008, I was a fellow researching a paper on think tank ethics ("The Perils of Non-Profit Journalism") at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. I was thus pleased when the New America Foundation's President, Steve Coll, spoke at the Shorenstein Center on March 11, 2008, and expressed his commitment to high ethical standards for journalists, researchers and other think tank staff.
The New America Foundation is a Washington, DC based think tank that has pioneered the introduction of journalism to the traditional think tank mix of advocacy and research. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Steve Coll is the former Managing Editor of the Washington Post and spent 20 years at the Post as a reporter and editor. Currently, in addition to serving as New America's President, Mr. Coll writes a column for The New Yorker magazine. Launched in 1999, the New America Foundation currently employs more than 100 individuals and has an annual budget of over $10 million. Its Chairman of the Board is Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, Inc.
"Fueled by tax-deductible donations and an explosion in philanthropic assets, think tanks have dramatically grown in size and influence during the past 100 years," writes J.H. Snider, himself a think tank fellow. "U.S. think tanks increased in number from eight in 1910 to 98 in 1960 and 1,106 in 2006. ...