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Inside the Disinformation Machine:

A Look at the Left’s New Media Operation


By Matthew Sheffield and Noel Sheppard

Summary: If you think the media has a


liberal bias today, wait until you see what
the left has in store for America’s future.
Extremist billionaires, “netroots” activists,
and nonprofit pressure groups are creating a
new media network. Through blog journal-
ism, they aim to discredit the media outposts
of the right while remaking the Internet in
their own image.

T
here is no argument that over the last
30 years American journalism has
become increasingly powerful and
pervasive. There is no escaping the modern
media: It functions 24 hours a day, seven days
a week, and is constantly updating online.
The daily newspaper and the “nightly news”
on TV are outmoded concepts that are losing
readers and viewers—and profits.

There is also no argument that American


journalists are liberals. Thirty years’ worth
How the radical left covers the Democratic Party convention in Denver: Reporter
of polling data and opinion surveys clearly
Jeremy Scahill interviews former U.S. Army officer Ann Wright on August 24 at a pre-
demonstrate this fact. Journalists say they convention anti-war rally. Scahill also interviewed activists Ward Churchill, Cindy
are liberals, they vote for liberal political Sheehan, and Leslie Cagan for the left-wing TV and radio program, “Democracy
candidates, voice what are considered lib- Now!” (photo from video grab)
eral opinions and reject what are considered
conservative positions on political and social vative and libertarian thought to the nether
issues. The liberal leanings of journalists regions of media and curbing the political
are well documented. (For more on media power of the right. September 2008
bias, see http://www.mrc.org/biasbasics/pdf/
BiasBasics.pdf.) The Left’s Money Men Push a New CONTENTS
Communications Strategy
Despite the fact that liberals dominate the In the modern age, the American left has Inside the Disinformation Machine
highest-profile journalistic institutions in primarily received its funding from a com- Page 1
America, this isn’t enough to many on the far bination of labor unions and a small group
left. Through a complex network of wealthy of extremely wealthy individuals bent on
foundations, think tanks and web sites, the imposing their political beliefs on the rest Philanthropy Notes
far left is creating a new media infrastructure of the populace, often to benefit their own Page 8
with the ultimate goal of banishing conser- business interests. In contrast, the American
FoundationWatch

right has generally drawn its sustenance The financiers of the left were forced to Democrats needed, Rob was arguing,
from the middle class with some help from reexamine their assumptions. Big donors was not a better party apparatus or stron-
high-worth individuals. such as George Soros, his friend Progres- ger candidates, but their own version of a
sive Insurance chairman Peter B. Lewis, message machine. They needed to build
The net effect of such funding divisions independent groups that could create and
the savings and loan tycoons Herbert and
has been that candidates farther to the left promote a progressive agenda—not for
Marion Sandler and other prominent figures, the purpose of winning the next election
tend to do better at the legislative level of especially in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, or the one after that, but to restore, over
federal power, especially in the House of faced up to their electoral defeats and reached time, some ideological balance to the
Representatives. The right, meanwhile, has a startling conclusion: Funding partisan marketplace of political ideas.
held a seeming lock on presidential power due politics may not be the best way to enact a
to its solid middle-class base. No Democrat political agenda. None of what Rob was saying about the
since Lyndon Johnson has received a majority conservative movement was terribly
of the popular vote. new, but never had it been so carefully
The money men realized that while elec-
quantified, so tightly packaged, so nicely
tions are important, they are only steps in
The left’s inability to articulate a national visualized. Moreover, Rob’s argument
a much longer process. Something more represented a fairly radical departure
message has frustrated its theorists and fundamental would have to occur before from the static way in which Democratic
donors for many years but especially follow- liberal candidates like Gore and Kerry politics had always worked. Because
ing the 2000 and 2004 presidential election could convince the public that their ideas Democrats had been the majority party
losses. Despite massively increasing the size were best for America. Americans would for so much of the twentieth century,
of its financial pool, the left was not able to first have to grow accustomed to left-wing their leading politicians had always
secure the White House for candidates Al political messages—and that would require run the party, and the donors existed
Gore and John Kerry. After Kerry conceded simply to serve the interests of those
a more radical transformation of the media,
in 2004, liberal frustration led to the creation politicians. Elected leaders and their
one requiring massive capital investments consultants directed wealthy patrons to
of a fake map that mocked right-of-center in institutions that would create a media give to a series of campaigns or party
America, deriding those parts of the nation environment hospitable to far left ideas. committees, or to hold fund-raisers at
that voted for President George W. Bush as their lavish homes for the same purpose;
“Jesusland.” A graphic showing a map of Ironically, the left-wing billionaires took if the contributors didn’t give money
the U.S. divided between “Jesusland” and their inspiration from the conservative to the party or its candidates, then they
the “United States of Canada,” was widely movement. One of the pivotal figures in this weren’t considered important players
epiphany was a former Clinton administra- in the Democratic universe. What Rob
circulated online. (See graphic on page 3.)
tion official named Rob Stein. In mid-2004 was suggesting, now that Democrats
Stein began presenting a dramatic slideshow had been consigned to the minority, was
Editor: Matthew Vadum to select audiences of wealthy liberals. It not
that the whole system should essentially
Publisher: Terrence Scanlon only outlined why the left was failing but,
work in reverse—that it was up to the
amazingly, it explained that the left could
learn from the conservative movement. donors to build their own ideological
Foundation Watch movement (indeed, that they were the
is published by Capital Research As chronicled by journalist Matt Bai in his
book The Argument, Stein described what only ones who could), and that the
Center, a non-partisan education and
research organization, classified by conservatives had accomplished and why party’s politicians should take direction
the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity. liberals needed to imitate them: from them, rather than the other way
around.” (The Argument, 26-27)
Address: “Conservatives hadn’t simply learned
1513 16th Street, N.W. In practical terms, this project could mean
Washington, DC 20036-1480 to win elections. They had also, over
the last thirty years, changed the terms only one thing: Donors would need to take
Phone: (202) 483-6900 of American political debate. If you the initiative. They would have to increase
Long-Distance: (800) 459-3950 imagined the nation’s politics as a gauge their giving to left-wing ideologues, activists,
moving from far left to far right, then the and policy wonks who understood the im-
E-mail Address: default position of the needle, the place portance of creating and marketing political
mvadum@capitalresearch.org
where most Americans lived, was no messages. Prompted by Soros and informed
Web Site: longer in the middle. Gradually, almost by Stein, the left’s base of big donors created
http://www.capitalresearch.org imperceptibly, it had tilted to the right the Democracy Alliance, a kind of political
and this was not an accident. It was the venture capital fund that now invests heavily
Organization Trends welcomes let- result of a deliberate, stealthy campaign in political advocacy nonprofits. (See “Bil-
ters to the editor. waged and funded by a relatively small lionaires for Big Government: What’s Next
Reprints are available for $2.50 pre- number of wealthy white men whose for George Soros’s Democracy Alliance,”
paid to Capital Research Center. only real political allegiance was to a by Matthew Vadum and James Dellinger,
radically conservative ideology. What Foundation Watch, January 2008.)
2 September 2008
FoundationWatch

There are many advantages to this type of Internet. It includes blogs, YouTube and other Dreams, and Alternet applied a top-down
arrangement. Perhaps the most important is web video-hosting sites, constantly updated model to disseminate political information.
that political activists never have to stand news feeds, social networking services like By comparison, the Web 2.0 model looks
for election. Unlike vote-seeking candidates, Facebook and MySpace, and many other to a variety of mechanisms to spread ideas
activists have no reason to compromise online innovations. quickly. Leftist online blogging communi-
their principles. They can set up political ties like Daily Kos, MyDD, and Crooks and
advocacy groups to champion their ideas, These new services are very useful in their Liars have soared to the top of political web
win or lose, in season and out. The liberal own right for non-political purposes but they rankings.
money men now make major contributions are especially valued by left-wing activists
to left-leaning 501(c)(3) public charities and who regard them as alternatives to the “cor- Blogging makes everyone a pundit or an
501(c)(4) lobbying organizations, and they porate media,” their pejorative term for the investigative reporter. With a blog anyone can
take advantage of tax laws that, in the case elite liberal media companies that, they say, also post an opinion, annotate and forward
of the (c)(4) groups, do not require them to freeze out truly progressive ideas. a news item, and share his activist impulses
disclose their contributions. They also fund with the entire world.
efforts to change election rules, which they Just as the liberal billionaires admire the suc-
label “campaign finance reform” to attract cesses of conservative philanthropy, the Blogs also are proving to be potent fund-
good-government types like Arizona Re-
publican John McCain. But at the same time
they funnel millions of dollars into so-called
“527 groups” that in theory are supposed to
be independent of political candidates.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported


that since 2000 registered 527 organizations
have accepted almost $1.6 billion in contribu-
tions. (See http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/
documents/info-BgMoneychrtbk0712-17.
html.) In 2004, wealthy liberals gave almost
three times more money to 527 groups than
their counterparts on the right gave to con-
servative 527s. In other words, the liberals
may shout, “Take the money out of politics,”
but they whisper, “And put it into nonprofit
political advocacy groups.”

The Rise of Web 2.0


While liberal billionaires have refocused
their efforts, the Internet has allowed left-
wing grassroots activists to form a virtual
army of amateur political campaigners ready
Liberals used the graphic shown above after the 2004 election to mock
to protest, write letters to the editor, fund states that voted to re-elect President Bush.
candidates, and attend candidate rallies
with minimal advance notice. Web-based leaders of the online netroots left appreciate raisers. Blogs have so far collected over $21
networking is a highly effective way to com- an earlier generation of conservative media million for Democratic candidates, according
municate and interact socially at the click of activists. During the Clinton years conserva- to the Trail, a Washington Post-sponsored
a mouse. The old grassroots left has given tives flocked to talk radio and established web blog commenting on the November elec-
way to today’s “netroots” left. outposts to find new sources of information. tions. ActBlue, which describes itself as “the
Rush Limbaugh’s show and websites like online clearinghouse for Democratic action,”
No longer isolated in urban blue state FreeRepublic.com and Lucianne.com con- claims to have raised more than $59 million
enclaves, leftists are using the Internet to tinually mobilized conservatives to protest online since 2004, dwarfing Republicans’
communicate with one another. Upset by the Clinton administration’s failings and plot online fundraising. RightRoots.com, which
the war in Iraq and angry that the Demo- new strategies of counter-attack. at its launch last year aspired to become the
cratic Congress is inept and ineffective in
GOP counterpart to ActBlue, is off to a shaky
combating the Bush administration, the left The netroots have a similar goal. How-
start. The website had raised just $41,744 in
is mobilizing online through “Web 2.0,” the ever, they have dramatically refined their
the 2008 election cycle as of July 31, 2008,
colloquial name for a continuing series of techniques for media messaging. Earlier
according to FEC data.
online innovations that is transforming the liberal websites like Raw Story, Common
September 2008 3
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Broadcast Media for Media and Democracy, whose president which describes itself as “anti-capitalist and
The left’s finely-tuned media message ma- is PBS pundit Bill Moyers. anti-imperialist.” The IAC website states:
chine is not, however, restricted to the web. “We also believe that best [sic] way to fight
Long envious of conservative talk radio, Then there is Free Speech TV (FSTV), U.S. imperialism abroad is to wage an all
liberals have repeatedly tried to create their a satellite-based television station whose out assault against the centuries-old war on
own talk radio stations. Although two recent programs are distributed at no cost to cable people of color living within U.S. borders.”
commercial efforts, Air America Radio and systems and satellite carriers. Available (For more on ANSWER, see “The Politics of
Nova M Radio, which was founded by Air on public access channels and the DISH Peace: What’s Behind the Anti-War Move-
America executives, have thus far failed Network since 2000, FSTV was created to ment?” by John J. Tierney, Organization
to turn a profit they have inspired several comply with a 1998 FCC ruling requiring Trends, March 2005. The article summarized
hundred thousand people a day to listen satellite operators to air community access a book by the same name that Capital Re-
to their offerings. Still, the dream of com- programming. FSTV carries a video version search Center published in 2005.) The far
mercial left-wing talk radio inspires liberal of “Democracy Now!” along with various left group Global Exchange was founded by
broadcasters and listeners. radical documentaries and higher-budget Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the radical
films produced in collaboration with other anti-war group Code Pink.
While liberal talk show hosts struggle to far left groups. Its website describes the
find a niche on commercial radio, the far Probably few people currently watch FSTV
left has grabbed hold of millions in taxpayer programming, but more than a few listen to
dollars to support nonprofit radio. For years Pacifica Radio. In any event, both play a role
National Public Radio (NPR) has been a in keeping radical activists informed and
source of left-wing news and commentary. involved. They also provide young radicals
But besides NPR, the best-known radio with multimedia and journalism jobs, experi-
nonprofit is the Pacifica Foundation, which ences that prepare them for future positions
runs Pacifica Radio. The foundation took in so-called mainstream media outlets like
in $56.8 million in contributions from 2001 National Public Radio. That kind of network-
to 2004, it disclosed on its fiscal 2005 tax ing is seldom available to young people on
return. Out of $14,728,663 in contributions the right.
in 2005, $1,973,507 of the total consisted of Liberal journalist Bill Moyers in a 2002
government grants. It reported net assets of photograph. For its program content FSTV relies heav-
$7,524,550 at the end of fiscal 2005. ily on the Independent Media Center (IMC),
station’s mission as “[s]eizing the power of
which operates Indymedia.org, one of the
The foundation owns five stations across television to expand social consciousness,
earliest Web 2.0 publications. Indymedia
the country and funds the radio and televi- FSTV fuels the movement for progressive
serves as a virtual information clearinghouse
sion show “Democracy Now!” which is also social, economic, and political transforma-
for far left activists, providing commentary
broadcast on NPR and many college radio tion. By exposing the public to perspectives
and announcements, updates and live cover-
stations. The show has a loyal following on excluded from the corporate-owned media,
age of events. IMC was started in 1999 by
the far left and in academia. “I think it’s prob- FSTV empowers citizens to fight injustices,
radicals upset by mainstream media coverage
ably the most significant progressive news to revitalize democracy, and to build a more
compassionate world.” of their street rioting during a Seattle confer-
institution that has come around in some ence of the World Trade Organization. IMC
time,” said Robert McChesney, a University has since expanded and works with many
of Illinois media scholar. FSTV is operated by the nonprofit Public
Communicators, Inc. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit online media “collectives” worldwide. These
reported revenues of $5,303,693 and year- are radical left-wing websites that allow their
“Democracy Now!” promotes extreme “members” to post text, audio, and video re-
left opinions. Host Amy Goodman rails end net assets of $137,425 in fiscal 2005. The
nonprofit took in $2,499,921 in grants from ports online. When Indymedia receives these
against invisible capitalist conspiracies and often bizarre and outrageous materials, a team
argues that politicians of both parties and the 2001 through 2004. Among its donors are
the Glaser Progress Foundation (endowed of editors, using an email group discussion
mainstream media are tools of a corporate list, reviews them and decides which to dis-
ruling class. Goodman co-authored with her by Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks) and
the Tides Foundation. seminate on the Indymedia website.
brother David Goodman, The Exception to
the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War If all of this sounds very haphazard but inter-
Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them On its website, FSTV identifies as its “part-
connected that’s because it is. IMC boasts that
(2004). Amy Goodman was paid at least $1 ners” the radical antiwar group International
it has no centralized organization. However,
million a year from 2002 to 2007, accord- ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End
Riseup Networks, part of the Seattle-based
ing to Pacifica treasurer Jabari Zakiya. In Racism) and Global Exchange. ANSWER’s
Riseup Collective, hosts the web server for
2006 Democracy Now! received a $150,000 steering committee is headed by former U.S.
many IMC sites (an arrangement acknowl-
matching grant from the Schumann Center attorney general Ramsey Clark, who also
edged by Riseup’s Micah Anderson in a July
heads the International Action Center (IAC),
4 September 2008
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7, 2008 online post at http://lists.indymedia. It turns passive readers into active users who habits. For instance, MSNBC’s hard left
org/pipermail/imc-finance/2008-July/0707- are encouraged to respond to its content by anchorman Keith Olbermann and “Hardball”
7r.html.) It’s interesting to note that many emailing their reactions, forwarding blog host Chris Matthews routinely lift stories
IMC chapters are registered 501(c)(3) public postings to friends, and linking it to other from Think Progress (and other liberal blogs)
charities. websites. (See “The Center for American passing them along without informing view-
Progress: ‘Think Tank On Steroids,’” by John ers of their dubious provenance.
Indymedia itself lacks tax-exempt status, Gizzi, Organization Trends, May 2007.)
but its donors can take a tax deduction by This is no accident: Both work for a network
giving money through its fiscal sponsor, As a public relations strategy, this ap- whose executives have made a deliberate de-
the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media proach has proved extremely effective for cision to gain viewers by repositioning their
Center. The Urbana-Champaign group, a CAP, largely because traditional journalists last-place TV channel as the network of choice
501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, took in from TV networks and newspapers like the for Bush haters. This came after MSNBC
$751,241 in donations from 2002 through
2005, according to its fiscal 2006 tax return.
That year it reported revenues of $182,898
and year-end net assets of $108,616.

The left’s media machine is driven by activ-


ists who claim that they are ignored by the
“corporate media.” But many independent
media producers receive help from important
nonprofits and wealthy foundations such as
the Soros-endowed Sundance Institute and
Bill Moyers’s Schumann Center.

Blogs: How CAP Helps Set the Agenda


One powerful disseminator of liberal
opinion is the Center for American Progress
(CAP), headed by former Clinton chief
of staff John Podesta. Like Rob Stein and
George Soros, Podesta concluded that win-
ning elections was not enough to control
the country. In 2003, after Republicans
won control of both houses of Congress,
Podesta set up CAP with $20 million in seed
money from George Soros and the former
mortgage moguls Herb and Marion Sandler.
His goal: To rival the Heritage Foundation David Brock of Media Matters for America
by wedding policy writing to cutting-edge
media strategies. Washington Post and New York Times have executives noticed that Olbermann’s con-
come to count on blogs as an essential part stant attacks on Fox News Channel host Bill
CAP’s roster of policy experts reads like of their newsgathering operations, something O’Reilly boosted his ratings.
a Clinton administration Who’s Who and many on the right have not yet realized.
includes former national economic adviser Eager to boost viewership, Olbermann has
Gene Sperling, former Senate Majority Blogs are now pervasive within the tra- continued to pander to the far left by adding
Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota), and ditional newsroom. That’s the finding of a “Special Comment” rants attacking Republi-
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Senator January 2008 survey by Brodeur Partners, cans, especially of the conservative variety.
John Edwards (D-North Carolina). Like a unit of Omnicom Group, the worldwide He has also partnered up with the liberal blog
the Heritage Foundation, CAP distributes marketing firm. Seventy-one percent of Daily Kos to create blog articles. Olbermann
its policy studies and political analyses to journalists surveyed say they read blogs at has continued to attack O’Reilly, denouncing
Capitol Hill staffers and journalists. least once a week and nearly 50% said they him as the “worst person in the world” and
valued them as a source for breaking news donning a Bill O’Reilly mask while mak-
But CAP also taps directly into the liberal reporting. Seventy-six percent of surveyed ing a Nazi “Sieg Heil” salute. Olbermann’s
online community with Think Progress, its journalists also saw blogs as valuable barom- MSNBC bosses don’t mind a bit. They’ve
heavily marketed blog community which eters of public and elite opinion. increased his salary and partnered with Air
provides a steady stream of news reports, America Radio to air some of their TV pro-
commentaries, analyses and rapid responses. Think Progress plays into these journalistic gramming on the radio network. Last month
September 2008 5
FoundationWatch

MSNBC gave Air America talker Rachel hysterical viewers who were forwarding an that good journalism is the same as left-wing
Maddow her own prime time program. idea Beck clearly believed was ridiculous. opinion. Financed by the same billionaire do-
nors who contribute to Democracy Alliance,
Media Matters: Character Assassination That didn’t matter to the left-wing smear Media Matters, and the Center for American
Factory machine. Neither website retracted its as- Progress, these groups pay journalists to write
Almost always, Olbermann’s ammunition sertions, nor did Olbermann who parroted stories that will be picked up by larger media
for his attacks on O’Reilly and anyone else them the same day, despite Beck’s deni- outlets and to give young liberal students the
who deviates from the liberal talking point als. (The Think Progress post is available training to be the journalists of the future.
of the day comes from Media Matters for at http://thinkprogress.org/2008/03/04/
America (MMA), a blog site created by beck-is-obama-the-antichrist/. The MMA ProPublica, a new nonprofit journalism
former conservative journalist David Brock. post is available at http://mediamatters.org/ outfit funded by the Sandler Family Support-
Media Matters is financed by MoveOn.org, items/200803050008.) ing Foundation ($1,250,000 in fiscal 2007),
CAP, and Progressive Insurance chairman proposes to sustain “investigative journalism
Peter B. Lewis. Although MMA pours sig- “If you could actually see the video, you in the public interest” by supporting journal-
nificant resources into defending George could see that I’m laughing as I say it, as I ists who will write stories that have “moral
Soros, the group denies that it is funded by ask the question,” Beck said on his nationally force.” This no doubt means articles attacking
Soros or his Open Society Institute. Its role syndicated radio show later in the week. “The what liberals consider social injustice. Ironi-
in the left’s new media strategy is to attack reason this is so unbelievably entertaining is cally, the nonprofit group Pro Publica, Inc.’s
the press whenever it strays from liberal because obviously the truth doesn’t matter, donors are Herb and Marion Sandler, who
orthodoxy. (See “Media Matters for America: but even more…it is so very predictable.” have arguably profited from homeowners’
Soros-Funded Watchdog Attacks Conser- distress. In May 2006 they fortuitously sold
vatives,” by Rondi Adamson, Foundation This is not the first time Media Matters Golden West, their California savings and
Watch, July 2007.) has massaged quotations to attack conser- loan, to Wachovia for $25.5 billion—just
vatives. In 2007 it manufactured a media before the credit crisis swamped Wachovia,
Unlike some on the left, Media Matters does controversy by falsely claiming that Rush which had foolishly acquired Golden West’s
not claim that the national press corps has a Limbaugh called anti-war Iraq veterans adjustable rate mortgage portfolio.
conservative bias. Instead, it claims that the “phony soldiers.” Limbaugh was not attack-
elite press is cowed by “conservative mis- ing American troops in Iraq. Instead he was Slate.com press critic Jack Shafer wondered
information,” its code word for giving any referring to leftist activists who fabricate whether the Sandlers’ political mission was
credence to conservative arguments. Media military credentials to bolster their anti-war compatible with ProPublica’s journalistic
Matters attacks journalists for questioning arguments. mission:
Democratic politicians and it tries to block
right-leaning media commentators from Media Matters was not interested in this “What do the Sandlers want for their
participating in public dialogue. It works in inconvenient truth, however. It edited out millions? Perhaps to return us to the days
conjunction with liberal blogs, using sym- the full context of Limbaugh’s comments of the partisan press…ProPublica’s Web
pathetic reporters and pundits to promote and emailed a doctored transcript to left- site vows that its investigations will be
far-left messages to the mainstream media leaning journalists. (See http://radioequal- conducted in a ‘non-partisan and non-
ideological manner, adhering to the strict-
and to attempt to force right-leaning media izer.blogspot.com/2007/09/rush-limbaugh-
est standards of journalistic impartiality.’
figures out of the public debate. troops-controversy-media.html for the full But philanthropists, especially those who
transcript of the show.) The controversy earned the fortune they’re giving away,
One more recent example of MMA in action subsided when the true transcript became tend not to distribute their money with a
involved CNN Headline News host Glenn available. Limbaugh continues broadcasting blind eye to the results. How happy will
Beck, one of the few conservatives outside and last month celebrated his 20th year of they be if ProPublica gores their sacred
the Fox News Channel (FNC) who hosts his national syndication. His success is a thorn Democratic cows? Or takes the ‘wrong’
own television show. Like FNC, Beck’s show in the left’s side. Together with congressio- position on their pet projects: health, the
irritates extreme liberals who dislike hearing nal Democrats, MMA mounted a pressure environment, and civil liberties?”
conservatives speak in a mass medium. campaign to get the Defense Department to
remove Limbaugh from a military broadcast- Pro Publica, Inc. reported revenues of
Working with Think Progress, Media Mat- ing service for troops overseas. (See http:// $1,450,000 and year-end net assets of
ters misquoted a Beck interview on March 4, thehill.com/leading-the-news/democrats- $1,365,523 in fiscal 2007. Rebecca Rimel,
2008 and implied that he was being serious go-after-limbaugh-2007-10-01.html.) president of the liberal Pew Charitable Trusts,
when he asked a guest whether Democratic serves on the group’s board.
presidential candidate Barack Obama was “Good Journalism”
the biblical Anti-Christ. In fact, Beck was While Media Matters takes the low road Another beacon of liberal activist report-
trying to dispel this notion. He prefaced his in attacking conservatives, other left-wing ing is the Columbia Graduate School of
question with a melodramatic tone of voice media groups adopt a more high-minded Journalism. A prestigious journalistic train-
and waved his fingers furiously to imitate approach—persuading young journalists ing ground much-esteemed in academia,

6 September 2008
FoundationWatch

it is a place where non-leftist professors a political issue. And, if Rush Limbaugh vative movement that attracted the admira-
are nonexistent and radicals like Victor goes out there and shoots his mouth off tion of left-wing donors like George Soros
Navasky, former publisher of the Nation somebody else has got to come up and say, and political strategists like Rob Stein are
magazine, hold tenured posts. Navasky is ‘Rush, you’re full of baloney. Here’s the starting to lose ground. That’s because the left
also chairman of the high-profile Columbia real facts, here’s what really happened.’ is forging ahead online. It’s learned how to
Journalism Review. And if any of the right wing radio so-called leverage the power of technology and smart
talk show hosts continues to do the same marketing. The only question remains: Will
Then there’s the Schumann Center for Me- thing once this legislation passes, all of that the right realize what it’s up against before
dia and Democracy, a $52 million foundation stuff will end, and the American people it’s too late?
headed by commentator Bill Moyers. It has will then begin to get both sides of the
funded Moyers’s own PBS program of news issue, or several sides, or many sides, or Matthew Sheffield is president of Dialog New
commentary as well as his son John Moy- how ever many sides there are. They will Media, the first web marketing firm for the
ers’s leftist website TomPaine.com. The elder have access to all the information. That right and the creator of NewsBusters.org, a
Moyers is well-known for directing grants is basic, fundamental, and essential to the project of the Media Research Center based
to left-wing groups through the Schumann future of our country.” in Alexandria, Virginia.
Center and then using his PBS programs
to promote them, all without disclosing his That companies like News Corporation and Noel Sheppard is owner of Secure Legacy,
relationship to the groups. Clear Channel are not hostile to conserva- a legal and financial estate planning firm in
tives and libertarians is enough reason for Danville, California. He is a freelance writer
The 2006 tax form for the Schumann Center many on the left to support laws designed and associate editor of NewsBusters.org.
shows that it made 26 grants worth almost to restrict them.
$10 million to such groups as the PBS pro- FW
gram “NOW,” which Moyers previously The right must oppose these campaigns.
hosted ($250,000); Free Press, an opponent More importantly, it must finally start to You can probe the
of “Big Media” founded by media scholar match the left’s investment in new media. backgrounds of many of the
Robert McChesney ($1.6 million); Center for That means creating blog news sites and organizations profiled in
Digital Democracy ($141,800); Texas Ob- encouraging grassroots conservatives and
server ($500,000); and Middlebury College libertarians to report the news and not just
Foundation Watch
fellowships for environmental journalism comment on it. In the information age, those by visiting our
($1.5 million) as well as the above-mentioned who report the news enjoy greater influence online database at
Democracy Now! ($150,000). than those who do not.
www.capitalresearch.org
Conclusion This influence is not impossible for the right
All together, the left has managed to as- to have. Already, websites like NewsBusters. You can also retrieve past issues of
semble a powerful media machine for itself, org have steered news stories to the national CRC newsletters, including
unequaled by any combination of institutions media, such as Hillary Clinton’s false remarks Organization Trends
on the right; however, it is not satisfied with in March 2008 that she had been under Foundation Watch
what it has achieved. “sniper fire” in Bosnia. The online right has Labor Watch
experienced similar successes in blocking the
Liberal billionaires and bloggers are now Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers,
Compassion and Culture
mounting campaigns for so-called “media and stopping immigration legislation that too Past issues may be ordered for $2.50
reform” which are designed to re-impose closely resembled amnesty. each. Orders must be prepaid. For infor-
the so-called Fairness Doctrine and restrict mation or credit card orders, call (202)
the number of media outlets a company can But the right can do more. Conservatives 483-6900
Or mail your check to:
own. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D- and libertarians must take their activism to the
New York), a member of the socialist Con- web. They should participate in mainstream Capital Research Center,
gressional Progressive Caucus, essentially online communities like the video website 1513 16th Street, N.W.
admitted the ploy was designed mainly to YouTube, the open-source encyclopedia Washington, D.C. 20036
block the allegedly nefarious influence of Wikipedia, and social bookmarking services
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and such as Delicious (formerly del.icio.us) and Please remember
Clear Channel Communications, syndicator StumbleUpon where readers share stories Capital Research Center
of Limbaugh and owner of a number of radio with other community members. These in your will and estate planning.
stations. Hinchey says Fairness Doctrine services offer a tremendous opportunity to
legislation would require: present freedom and free markets to uncom- Thank you for your support.
mitted voters and citizens.
“that you have to provide access to any-
body who has a different point of view on The institutional innovations of the conser-
Terrence Scanlon, President

September 2008 7
FoundationWatch

PhilanthropyNotes
Tom Matzzie, a MoveOn.org agitator who headed the failed Progressive Media USA pressure group, has
launched a liberal group that plans to intimidate donors planning to give money to conservative groups,
the New York Times reports. “We want to stop the Swift Boating before it gets off the ground,” he said. The
new group, Accountable America, plans to send a warning letter to conservative donors that says left-
wing watchdog groups will cause them legal trouble and public exposure. Chris LaCivita, a GOP strategist
involved in the 2004 Swift Boat effort against John Kerry, said the group’s efforts would backfire as donors
react to the group’s tactics. “They’re not going to be intimidated by some pipsqueak on the kooky left,” he
said.

Financier Robert Hildreth announced he has created the National Immigrant Bond Fund, which will bail
out illegal immigrants arrested while on the job, National Public Radio reports. Hildreth started the fund after
400 undocumented workers were arrested at a local factory. “What shocked me was that within 24 hours,
one half of those arrested, 200 people, had been whisked away, to Texas, to send them back out of the
country as soon as possible, and this did not seem right.”

After two years running the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Jay Hein an-
nounced his resignation effective August 29. It is unclear who will succeed him. Hein was the third director of
the office since President George W. Bush created it in 2001. Hein said he plans to return to Indiana to care
for his father who has cancer.

A great, great, great-niece of Newcomb College’s founding benefactor, Josephine Louise Newcomb, is
challenging Tulane University’s decision to shutter the college. The donor intent lawsuit by Susan Hender-
son Montgomery asks the court to enforce the conditions of Newcomb’s will, which a local court previously
ruled shows Newcomb “intended for Tulane to use the balance of her estate to maintain a women’s higher
education college.”

The National Football League, which has tax-exempt status as a trade association, refuses to comply with
new IRS rules that require nonprofits to disclose how much top employees are paid. The NFL wants Con-
gress to change the rules for it, reports The New York Times, and argues it shouldn’t have to divulge this in-
formation because it doesn’t receive donations from the public. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said all
groups that benefit from nonprofit status should disclose salary information to maintain public accountability.

Meanwhile, the IRS has published final instructions for the redesigned Form 990, the informational form that
most charities are required to file with the U.S. government, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports. The new
form is 11 pages long and has 16 supporting schedules. Janne G. Gallagher, vice president of the Council
on Foundations, said she was pleased with the new simplified form, which has undergone its first major
overhaul since 1979. “They’ve made a tremendous effort to be responsive to the comments they received.”

Almost $99 million in donations have been received for the planned Martin Luther King Jr. national memo-
rial, to be built on the national Mall in Washington, D.C., Cox News Service reports. Recent gifts include $3
million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Rising expenses have forced up the project’s budget to
$120 million.

Libyan-born Emadeddin Muntasser, who co-founded a now-defunct Muslim charity, has received a one-
year prison sentence for lying to an FBI agent about visiting Afghanistan. The Boston resident was one of
three men convicted of conspiring to trick the U.S. government into granting tax-exempt status to his non-
profit, Massachusetts Care International (not affiliated with CARE International). Prosecutors say the three
men used the charity to conceal pro-jihad activities.

8 September 2008