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reports | websites | articles | books


Axis of Ideology (pdf)

Conservative Foundations and Public Policy

Also see Jerry Landay's story on this report, The Apparat

National Committe for Responsive Philanthropy | 2004

Moving A Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations

National Committe for Responsive Philanthropy | 1997

Buying a Movement

Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics

People for the American Way | 1996

The Feeding Trough

The Bradley Foundation, "The Bell Curve" & The Real Story behind Wisconsin's National Model for Welfare Reform

A Job is a Right Campaign | 1997

Funding the War of Ideas

United Church Board for Homeland Ministries | 1995



SourceWatch is a collaborative project of the Center for Media and Democracy to produce a directory of the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda. SourceWatch's primary focus is on documenting public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests.


Media Matters for America

Media Matters for America is a valuable Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.


From Center for American Progress

Lively, frequently updated website for progressive collegians. Includes blogs and resources like bios of right wing speakers who show up on college campuses. Good antedote to places like the Center of the American Experiment's Intellectual Takeout.



FAIR's Racism Watch Desk
FAIR's Women's Desk


An Internet Guide to Power Structure Research

Power structure research is an approach to the study of power that highlights the unequal distribution of resources upon which power is based (e.g., wealth, political office, control of the mass media) and the importance of formal and informal social networks as the means by which power is concentrated and institutionalized.


People for the American Way

PFAW Right Wing Watch


IRC Right Web

"The architecture of power that's changing our world"


Trips For Judges

Corporate special interests are wining and dining judges at fancy resorts under the pretext of "educating" them about complicated legal issues. A new report by Community Rights Counsel (CRC) shows that these junkets appear to be working as their sponsors intend, encouraging rulings that strike down environmental protections and line the pockets of junket sponsors.


Downloadable IRS reports from various philanthropies. May have more reports than Grantsmart (below). Free registration required.


Commonweal Institute


Downloadable IRS 990 reports from various philanthropies. A real gold mine of information about nonprofits. Downside: Usually only has one or two years worth of reports on a single philanthropy.



A Left response to the Drudge Report.


Conservative Web Watch

Keeps an eye on conservative websites such as NewsMax, Free Republic, etc.


Center on Budget & Policy Priorities

Provides research and analysis from a low- to middle income person's perspective.


National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

Umbrella group of more liberal philanthropies. Provides excellent resources for analyzing philanthropic giving from a variety of perspectives.


Rethinking Schools

Rethinking Schools helps shape progressive reform throughout the public school system in the United States, analyzing education issues such as vouchers, charter schools and merit pay schemes.


Think Tanks & Policy Centers

Columbia University Library: Good list of Think Tanks and their web sites, as well as other Think Tank Resources


Political Research Associates (PRA)

"Independent, not-for-profit research center which monitors and analyzes the organizations, leaders, ideas, and activities of the US political right"



The Nation
November 22, 1999

The 'Right' Books and Big Ideas

Conservative Foundations Lavishly Subsidize Authors While the Left Loses Out

Eric Alterman


March 1, 1995

Foundations for a Movement

How the Right Wing Subsidizes Its Press

Beth Schulman


City Pages
October 31, 1990

Right-Think Inc.

Lawrence Soley


American Prospect
September 1, 1998

Lessons of Right-Wing Philanthropy

An essay that discusses the following:

Buying a Movement: Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics (People for the American Way, 1996).

Sally Covington, Moving a Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 1998).

Leon Howell, Funding the War of Ideas: A Report to the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries (1995).

Justice for Sale (Alliance for Justice, 1993).

Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado, No Mercy: How Conservative Think Tanks and Foundations Changed America's Social Agenda (Temple University Press, 1996).

Karen M. Paget




News Incorporated

Corporate Media Ownership and its threat to democracy
by Elliot D. Cohen

News Incorporated: Corporate Media ownership and its threat to democracy, Elliot D. Cohen The current climate of American journalism is fraught with incestuous relations between government and a handful of Fortune 500 corporations that own and operate news organizations. From News Corporation�s Fox News, General Electric�s NBC, Viacom�s CBS, Disney�s ABC, and Time Warner�s CNN to Clear Channel�s massive radio empire, what the mainstream media present as �news� has become largely a �paid political announcement� born of favor trading, conflict of interest, and self-serving, bottom-line corporate logic. As a result of such accommodationism, American viewers receive a homogenized, censored version of reality and the watchdog of American democracy, the press, has become a docile instrument of governmental authority and big money.

Read the review at


Attack Poodles and other Media Mutants

by James Wolcott

Attack Poodles and other media mutants, by James Wolcott From cultural critic Wolcott (Vanity Fair; the New Yorker) comes an examination of the "infotainment" that he says now passes for political news. In an age brimming with 24-hour news channels, talk radio and the Internet, how is it, Wolcott asks, that Americans seem to be less informed than in the past? He points a finger at the rise of TV news personalities, or the "attack poodles," those ratings-hungry pundits, who, he says, are geared more toward quips, rants, profits and fame than to informing a democratic populace. Wolcott finds examples of the specimen in Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Chris Matthews, Dennis Miller and Bob Novak.

James Wolcott's blog.


Blinded By The Right

The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative
by David Brock

Blinded by the Right by David Brock Excerpt from Jerry Landay's Media Transparency review of this must-read book:

"...The right has conceived and promoted the policies America argues about, then frames the debate around them. Those doing the job are rep-tied, horn-rimmed members of the massive conservative propaganda machine who operate under the mythic smokescreen they created called the �liberal press.� Conservatives go on to manage the anti- left political dirt that oozes into newspapers and onto television news."

"The mode of these squads of self-serving young propagandists is take-no- prisoners polemics � writers, journalists, and lawyers who earn good money and get big foundation grants trashing the left in rightist journals and talk shows, and force- feeding the corrosive content into mainstream media. David Brock was the most notorious brass ball warrior of the poison-pen lot..."

Also see:

Media Transparency report Jerry Landay's review


Banana Republicans

How the Right Wing is Turning America into a One-Party State
by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber

Banana Republicans Although George W. Bush campaigned for president in 2000 [as] "a uniter, not a divider," he has actually presided over an increasingly polarized nation. The reasons for these deepening divisions include a deeply flawed voting system that brought him into office, an unsteady economy, soaring budget deficits, tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy, some of the worst business scandals in U.S. history, a devastating terrorist attack and a warlike foreign policy that has made the United States hated and feared internationally as never before.

These conditions reflect the highly effective political organizing strategy of the conservative coalition that brought the Bush administration to power. The Republican party's hard right views politics as literally a "war by other means." This philosophy has been promoted by figures such as conservative activist David Horowitz, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Bush advisor Karl Rove. According to Horowitz, "Politics is war conducted by other means. In political warfare you do not fight just to prevail in an argument, but to destroy the enemy's fighting ability. . . . In political wars, the aggressor usually prevails. ... You cannot cripple an opponent by outwitting him in a political debate. You can do it only by following Lenin's injunction: 'In political conflicts, the goal is not to refute your opponent's argument, but to wipe him from the face of the earth.'"


What Liberal Media?

The Truth about BIAS and the News
by Eric Alterman

What Liberal Media? Excerpt from a review in the New York Times by Orville Schell:

"Now Eric Alterman, media columnist for The Nation, has jumped into the ring and taken off his gloves. In an impressively researched and documented book, What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News, he provocatively challenges this conservative wisdom as a mirage. He asserts that what Americans should really fear is the far better organized, more powerful and effective propaganda machine of the right that postulates the presumption of liberal bias through research groups, religious organizations, ideological news organizations and conservative personalities that ''skews the entire discourse toward the right."

Also see:

Orville Schell's Review


Slanting the Story

The Forces That Shape the News
by Trudy Lieberman

Slanting the Story In recent years, right-wing foundations and think tanks with deep pockets and aggressive agendas have reshaped the national debate on the fundamental issues that affect all of us. In this provocative and well-researched book, award-winning investigative journalist Trudy Lieberman details how they have made the media unwitting partners in their mission.

Lieberman traces the rise of powerful organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the Manhattan Institute into savvy idea peddlers with millions to spend on marketing. Through case studies of four key policy debates�tax reform, health care, social security, and school vouchers�Slanting the Story demonstrates how conservative organizations have discredited their opponents, influenced the media, and engineered sweeping changes in public opinion and public policy.

Also see:

Read the first excerpt from Trudy Lieberman's excellent new book at

How the right wing has co-opted the media strategies pioneered by consumer activist Ralph Nader.

While courting the press is common among all types of political organizations, few have done so with more �lan than the right-wing Manhattan Institute, which put tort reform on the national agenda.

How conservatives, by criticizing the "liberal" press, have moved the media further to the right.


The Politics of Research

by George Levine and E. Ann Kaplan

The Politics of Research Jonathan Arac, Lauren Berlant, Peter Brooks, Roman de la Campa, Myra Jehlen, Stanley Katz, Richard Kramer, Dominick LaCapra, George Levine, Ellen Messer-Davidow, Helene Moglen, Bill Readings, and Bruce Robbins write about the current crisis in the humanities and higher education generally. They discuss the relation between politics and research, the responsibilities and possibilities of the academic intellectual, the structure of the institution of the university, the functions and acheivements of the humanities, and the development of interdisciplinarity as a catalyst for change.


The Market Approach to Education: An Analysis of America's First Voucher Program

by John F. Witte

Milwaukee, one of the nation's most segregated metropolitan areas, implemented in 1990 a school choice program aimed at improving the education of inner-city children by enabling them to attend a selection of private schools. This experiment provoked an explosion of emotional debate nationwide, thus overshadowing the results. In this book, John Witte provides a broad yet detailed framework for understanding the Milwaukee experiment and its implications for the market approach to American education. While voucher programs continue to be the most controversial approach to educational reform, Witte provides a thorough and solid review of where the choice debate stands through 1998. It not only includes the "Milwaukee story" but also provides an analysis of the role, history, and politics of court decisions in this most important First Amendment area.

Also see:

Publisher's blurb


The Idea Brokers: Think Tanks and The Rise of the New Policy Elite

by James A. Smith

The Idea Brokers Tracing the rise of the think tank from the turn of the century to the present, historian Smith provides a portrait of this policy elite and concludes that "experts" have preempted the public debate by helping to remove complex issues from the ken of ordinary citizens.


How Harvard Rules: Reason in the Service of Empire

by Jack Trumpbour (Editor)

How Harvard Rules A scathing indictment of Harvard that goes well beyond the fact that it is generally perceived as elitist. The contributors to this book, all Harvard graduates or faculty, assert that Harvard is, at least partially, racist, ethnocentric, sexist, and hostile to progressive intellectuals, and that it has compromised its independence. Frankly, this is a hard book to assess objectively without inside knowledge. However, the authors have made a strong case for several of the charges. First, it seems apparent tht the Harvard Corporation and administration wield disporportionate power over decisions which legitimately belong to the faculty; second, appointments are, in part, political decisions not based on merit, especially for the younger faculty with left-of-center views. Some parts of the book are simply mean-spirited. However, the issues raised and the documentation presented combine to make this a book which will undoubtedly focus national attention on the problems facing the research university in the 1990s. Recommended.

-- - Richard H. Quay, Miami Univ . Libs., Oxford, Ohio


Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times

by Robert W. McChesney

Rich Media, Poor Democracy Rich Media, Poor Democracy challenges the assumption that a society drenched in commercial information "choices" is a democratic one. Robert McChesney, whom Marc Crispin Miller calls "the greatest of our media historians," argues that the major beneficiaries of the so-called Information Age are wealthy investors, advertisers, and a handful of enormous media, computer, and telecommunications corporations. This concentrated corporate control, McChesney maintains, is disastrous for any notion of participatory democracy.

Also see:

Bill Moyers, Ralph Nader, etc. comment on this excellent book.