From the mouth of Chris Matthews


by David Safier

Here's an interesting observation Chris Matthews made on Hardball Tuesday about right wing "think tanks." He's speaking specifically about the probability Scooter Libby will be given a lifetime Senior Fellowship position to reward him for the sword he took for his Vice President (and to keep him quiet), but the concept has a wider scope.

Rick, this is what the right wing does. They create these Heritage Foundations and American Enterprise Institutes on the Hudson and the Hudson Institute. They just sit around raising money, right wing money, to keep these guys in senior fellowships, so they're ready to write op-ed pieces to fill the pages of the “Wall Street Journal.”

That's what they do all day, isn't it? It‘s a big money scheme to spend enough money to keep these guys typing, so that the right wing stuff keeps coming out in the “Wall Street Journal” and some times the “Washington Post” and the “New York Times.”

These foundations and institutes hire very bright folks paid for by lots of right wing money, and their job is to put together intelligent sounding material that twists the truth a bit, then distorts it further, then bends it to the breaking point. Very clever folks. I have nothing but admiration for their intellects. Too bad they can't find more constructive (or should I say less destructive?) ways to spend their time.

That goes for right wing Institutes here in our own state of Arizona as well, of course. (Hat tip to AZ Blue Meanie.)


  1. I’ll make some predictions here, none of which are very avant garde. In four years there will be quite a few less print newspapers than there are now. There will be quite a few less subscribers for print newspapers and newsmagazine than now. Many more of us will be saying “I remember the Wall Street Journal – that newspaper my grandfather read before he died (yawn).”

    All these printed Wall Street Journal or Washington Post copies of articles by Goldwater Institute or Heritage foundation will not exist (except on the web). More and more video channels will exist (whether by satellite, cable or internet). I can’t imagine many video viewers watching Scooter Libby (voluntarily that is). For all the fountains of right wing money that exist I don’t imagine many donors want to just pay for Scooter Libby to show up at an office three days a week and write articles only 3,000 people read (on a good day). I look forward to all the video programs to come that will have some opportunity that include far more face to face debate than exist today.

    Here’s to a braver, newer world come 2013.

  2. Up here in Prescott, they use the Pacific Institute, which is a third-rate Canadian heavy think tank, or they do them in-house. I moved here from Wyoming, and the right-wing rage and attempts to dominate the marketplace (I have submitted a number of letters to the Courier and they simply disappear; the Wyoming papers always printed them at least) I see out of the Prescott Courier are scary and fascinating at the same time.
    I’ve tried to find out info about the Yuma family who owns the Courier without a whole lot of success; I’m hoping when that list of tax evaders who banked with UBS comes out I know more.

  3. This is a story that needs to really get more attention – the unbelievable space given in public do these well-funded think tanks.

    They have set up a network of interconnected groups that all refer to each other for results of their “research” to “prove” the conclusions they have already reached.

    The groups are largely insulated from the truths or falsehoods of their claims because it does not matter as long as the claims they make carry out the intended purpose of creating enough noise around an issue people do not know what to believe.

    A perfect example is the public officials we see know touting this ridiculous idea that AZ per pupil spending is above the national average. This serves a very effective propaganda purpose but is just bad information.

    What I don’t understand is why these groups get such a voice in the media. I mean everyone should be free to voice their opinions and no one is going to stop them, but why do we always see quotes from the GI or Americans for Prosperity in news reports. Do reporters bother to even check their claims or track records. Just because someone is well-funded and can put out slick press blasts, this doesn’t mean their opinion is required to be inserted in news reports to provide “balance.”

    Is there some reason I should care what the GI as an institution or AFP thinks about something? Do they have a record of accurate predications or insightful solutions to problems? Do they directly represent a significant part of the population? Is their “research” reviewed by others to check their claims?

Comments are closed.