Report from the Field: Left Media and Left Think Tanks — Foundation-Managed Protest?
AbstractLeft media and left think tank staff people generally deny that the acceptance by their organizations of grants from liberal foundations has transformed their organizational priorities, subjected them to elite control, or channeled their energies into safe, legalistic, bureaucratic activities and mild reformism. In this report, we will be discussing organizations, e.g., Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP), Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR); and media, e.g., Nation, Progressive, Mother Jones, In These Times , widely regarded as left-wing. Some originated in the 1960s and 1970s with bold challenges to the United States political and economic system; we can read (some are online) their early publications and mission statements to be reminded of the initial militancy. In the popular mind, these media and think tanks are clearly distinguished from, on the one hand, the liberal media, e.g., New York Times, Harper's , and think tanks, e.g., Brookings Institution, Urban Institute, and on the other, the “far” left, e.g., Workers' World , Maoist Internationalist Movement. A few of the left-wing organizations are primarily concerned about threats to media independence, yet all their attention is focused on for-profit corporate (or government) control; they ignore the possible influence of large subventions from non-profit institutions such as foundations.