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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The longest yarn: A history of pay to play at right wing think tanks

Bill Berkowitz
January 5, 2006
Revelations that Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bought op-ed pieces from fellows at right wing think tanks should unleash an investigation into two decades of so-called research paid for by conservative philanthropies
 
"Despite its centrality to political debate, economic research is a very low-budget affair. The entire annual economics budget at the National Science foundation is less than $20 million. What this means is that even a handful of wealthy cranks can support an impressive-looking array of think tanks, research institutes, foundations, and so on devoted to promoting an economic doctrine they like...The economists these institutions can attract are not exactly the best and the brightest...But who needs brilliant, or even competent, researchers when you already know all the answers?" -- Paul Krugman, Slate, August 15, 1996)
 
Several decades ago, when veteran radio news reporter Scoop Nisker closed out his broadcasts by telling his audience that if they didn't like the news they should "go out and make some of your own," little did he imagine that the Bush Administration, and a host of its surrogates, would become masters of that domain.
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