After you check out this People for the American Way report, you'll either want to hide in a corner crouched in a fetal position, or start pouring your energy and wealth into liberal causes. If you want to know what liberals are up against, which seems almost insurmountable at this point, this report should shake you. I can't believe liberals haven't organized like this, even a little bit:
Each year, conservative foundations channel millions of dollars into a broad range of conservative political organizations. Their recipients range from multimillion-dollar national think tanks to state policy centers, universities, conservative journals, magazines and student publications, right-wing television networks and radio programs, and community projects. The issue work funded by these conservative givers ranges from military and fiscal policy to education funding to health and welfare program analysis to environmental deregulation to libertarian workplace policy, and more.The rest of the report goes into immense detail, covering the monetary source: the Bradley Foundation, Koch Foundation, Olin Foundation, and Scaife Family Foundation. Remind me, who's George Soros again..?
Two points stand out in an examination of these foundations’ giving patterns. First, the size of their grants: large grants, often in excess of $1 million, are commonplace in conservative circles, while comparatively rare among liberal political groups. Second, the nature of their funding strategies: conservative foundations have overt political and ideological agendas and invest comprehensively to promote a given issue on every front. In the words of the director of one foundation, the right understands that government policies are based on information from “a conveyer belt from thinkers, academics and activists,” and provides funding accordingly.
Indeed, the foundations are supporting the work at every station on the conveyer belt. They fund national conservative “think tanks” to package and repackage conservative issue positions; state think tanks to lend a local flair to these issues; national political groups to lobby in Washington and shape national media coverage; state-based groups to do the same in the states; grassroots organizations to stir up local activism; national and state media to report, interpret and amplify these activities; scholars to record the history of such activities and push the intellectual boundaries of the issues; graduate students to form the next wave of scholarship and movement leadership; and college newspapers to shape the milieu in which America’s next generation of political leaders comes to their political awakening. Individual donors also contribute greatly to this conveyer belt, and will be the subject of a subsequent report from People For the American Way.
The result of this comprehensive and yet largely invisible funding strategy is an extraordinary amplification of the far right’s views on a range of issues. The various funding recipients do not march in ideological lock-step, but they do promote many of the same issues to their respective audiences. They have thus been able to keep alive in the public debate a variety of policy ideas long ago discredited or discarded by the mainstream. That, in turn, has been of enormous value in the right’s ongoing effort to reshape American society.
These trends also stand in sharp contrast to the giving patterns of the large “progressive” foundations. right-wing foundations had poured some $2.7 million into four conservative publications (The New Criterion, National Interest, Public Interest, and American Spectator), while their progressive counterparts (The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, and In These Times) received less than ten percent of that amount in foundation grants.
Not content with these advantages, and having already vastly outspent and outgunned their progressive counterparts, these right-wing foundations are now pushing to “defund the left.”Leading “Contract with America” strategist Grover Norquist was still more direct: “We will hunt [these liberal groups] down one by one and extinguish their funding sources.” The G.O.P. hit list: the American Association of Retired Persons and Planned Parenthood.
“Their effort to shape debates is not diluted by concerns with ameliorating any other problems,” says one journalist, while progressives underwrite a broad range of social programs such as “relief of poverty, domestic violence, AIDS, environmental abuse.