Kyle Smith’s review of a new book based on the left-wing money machine is enlightening for the spotlight which is shined on left wing philanthropies/foundations and more importantly their biased polling tactics. What is particularly sad is that many of these philanthropies were founded by conservatives who made their fortunes through capitalism.
by Kyle Smith
Old joke: Guy tells his friend, “Guess what? My new girlfriend is a virgin.” The friend says, “How do you know she’s a virgin?” Guy says, “She told me.” The friend replies, “How do you know she’s not lying?” First guy says, “Virgins never lie.”
That circular reasoning, UCLA poli-sci professor Tim Groseclose points out in his book, “Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind,” is the kind of thing you hear from otherwise intelligent, even scientific-minded liberals when it comes to the kinds of stories that turn up in popular media outlets such as CBS, CNN or The New York Times.
Groseclose measured the extent to which these outlets mentioned liberal vs. conservative think tanks in their coverage and found a pronounced bias toward the left. A colleague of Groseclose’s to whom he mentioned this said, essentially, “So what? Those liberal think tanks are more reputable than the conservative ones.” And how did he know this? Because, er, they were the ones that were so often quoted on CBS, CNN or in The New York Times.
The crux of Groseclose’s book, which came out in paperback earlier this year, is seconded by this summer’s “The New Leviathan: How the Left-Wing Money Machine Shapes American Politics and Threatens America’s Future” by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin.
Horowitz and Laksin explore the world of foundation money, where it came from, where it goes and what it does. Philanthropic organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and their equivalents with names like Heinz, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Mellon tend to support left-wing causes. The financial assets of the 115 major tax-exempt foundations of the left, says Laskin, added up to $104.56 billion — more than 10 times the size of the war chest held by their ideological opposite numbers on the right.
We owe to Hillary Clinton the deathless term “vast right-wing conspiracy,” a sobriquet she used to ridicule reports that her husband might have had an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
The evidence is ample, though, that when it comes to weaving an intricate web of money and influence, the left is far more successful than the right.
Groseclose is careful to point out that, in his analysis, the mainstream media do not make up facts. They don’t report lies. The bias is in the kinds of stories they do and don’t do, the kinds of experts they quote, how much prominence they are given and how they’re identified.
In an illustrative Los Angeles Times report on the size of the black student body at UCLA (after California outlawed consideration of race in state-college admissions), the reporter quoted five liberal supporters of affirmative action (none of whom was identified with an ideological label) and one opponent (who was stamped, correctly, as “conservative”). The conservative was given two paragraphs to make his case. His views were accurately summarized. But the liberals were awarded 17 paragraphs.
Newspapers don’t typically ask journalists what party they belong to. They don’t have to. Journalism is a field that attracts liberals.
So does philanthropy. In “New Leviathan,” Horowitz and Laksin discover that foundations don’t necessarily seek out liberal officers. They look for “nonideological” experts and experienced professionals in the field — but most of these turn out to have an affinity for giving money to left-wing or even far-left groups.
Take the Daniels Fund, for instance. It was set up by conservative Republican Bill Daniels, who made a fortune in cable television. He didn’t leave any instructions for how its operations were to be conducted. Its first president, Phil Hogue, went to existing foundations for advice. Foundations like the MacArthurs’, which has repeatedly showered largesse on socialist and even Marxist groups such as Global Exchange, which promoted the anti-World Trade Organization riots in Seattle and is headed by a pro-Castro communist.
Says a conservative observer quoted in “New Leviathan,” “I knew we had lost Daniels when I met a former Rockefeller program office at a reception who had just been hired at Daniels. Who can quarrel with foundation expertise acquired at one of the nation’s best? And I’m sure all the while Hogue thought he was just doing the most professional job he could in carrying out Daniels’ will.”
Staff lawyers for the environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, says Laksin, describe their job as, “We’re the shadow EPA; we make the EPA do its job.”
Bizarre as it is to contemplate the fortunes of supercharged capitalists like Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford being used to fight capitalism, isn’t pointing this out merely conservative whining? Surely everyone is entitled to spend their money promoting whatever message they please.
Correct, says Laksin. But these foundations’ tax-exempt status depends on their being nonpartisan. He mentions that the head of Pew Trusts, Rebeca Rimmel, recently complained that the book falsely portrays Pew as a partisan group. “That’s demonstrably false,” Laksin says. “Pew Trusts spends millions funding radical environmental groups like Earth Justice and anarchist Ruckus Society. If that’s non-partisan, then the term has no meaning. Foundations should be upfront about their political agendas.” And lose their tax-exempt status.
It was free-market apostle Adam Smith who said, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.”
Tags: Kyle Smith