"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How Conservative Foundations Shape Public Opinion

As newspapers attempted to cut the cost of gathering news, conservative public policy foundations worked harder to provide the newspapers with information by way of position papers, briefings and books. The conservative foundations were well funded and were able to take the lead in doing this. The Heritage Foundation developed a program computerized program called Database 101 and provided short seminars to teach journalists how to use it. Heritage essentially offered to become the research department for newspapers. While much of the data it provided was necessarily neutral of any ideology, the more complex the information became, the more important the manner of interpretation became. Reporters learned how to use the database and how best to interpret the data. This aggressive conservative foundation insisted it was only helping reporters replace fact-based reporting for anecdote-based reporting, but it is fair to wonder if the data and analysis it provided ever led to conclusions that undermined conservative policies. Heritage spends a million dollars a year on this project.

Electronic and print news outlets are businesses, and many seek to maximize profits by relying more upon free research services provided by conservative outlets.. Funding less investigative journalism, especially, can also cut costs that which might produce information that would anger advertisers or conservative readers. To maximize audiences, many of them have overreacted to the ever-present complaint that the media has a liberal bias. Of courses there had always been many conservative newspapers, and their influence increased over time. By 2003, their flagship publications included the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, and Commentary, The New Republic, and the Weekly Standard. The New York Sun, founded in 2007, was intended to influence opinion first and make money, possibly second. As late as 2007, it was losing $1 million a month, but it attracted the attention of conservative opinion leaders throughout the country. Conservatives also write many syndicated columns and contribute to many magazines. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, under Robert Bartley became a central cog in the Republican attack machine in the 1990s, lending respectability to all sorts of stories ginned out by Clinton haters. Bartley was particularly proud of the piece he printed which probably drove Vincent Foster to commit suicide. George W. Bush later honored Bartley as a great journalist, but David Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix was more accurate in calling him a “notorious scandalmonger” who did much to elevate sleazy journalism to respectability.

The efforts of Neo Conservative writers and activists most probably account for the decision of more voters to identify with conservative outlooks rather than liberal one’s. To the New Right, the Neo Conservatives were suspect because they were highly educated, eastern urban dwellers and intellectuals. Nevertheless, the NeoCons served the New Right well by exploiting religious and cultural issues and helping to bring the Christian Right into the conservative coalition. Rich Republicans also employed skilled writers who lacked the credentials of the Neo Conservatives but who cranked out effective attack literature that was circulated by the conservative press and usually found a place in the mainstream media. These attacks were frequently laced with hearsay, speculation, fabrications, and slander. Their effectiveness and that of the conservative media infrastructure was repeatedly demonstrated during the effort to remove Bill Clinton from office. It is estimated that Richard Mellon Scaife spent over $200,000,000 over twenty years in efforts to damage liberals and strengthen the right wing. Some suggest that over a lifetime he has spent $600,000,000 on right wing causes

Sherman has written African American Baseball: A brief History, which can be acquired from LuLu Publishing on line.http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?search_forum


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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!