By Jack Jodell, Sept. 1, 2011
It really GALLS ME when I see the mainstream media featuring persons fom far-right think tanks as “analysts” or “experts” on ANYTHING. The implication is that these people are credible and should be listened to, as they are supposedly somehow more intellectual, or better informed, than are the rest of academia and the public at large. WHAT A LOAD OF BULL! The truth of the matter is that these people have a very slanted political agenda, almost always regressive and anti-labor in nature (and sometimes even imperialistic), and that this slant greatly distorts the truth of all they are presenting. There are hundreds of these organizations begun and operated by right-wing conservative millionaire Republicans, but the one I’ll focus on here is THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION.
Think tanks such as these actually began in the 19th century, but the term for describing them was coined in the 1950s. They are found all over the world. These were, originally, research groups which published their findings on a wide variety of social, economic, and political issues BASED ON CLINICAL DATA, TESTING, AND FACT. But in recent years, many have often become right-wing advocacy groups, and that is why we now see their presence on various news-related television programs. As soon as one of their studies or “findings” is released, they play the media like suckers, actively hitting all the talk shows they can for publicity. Their obvious aim is to shape public opinion THEIR way and to eventually effect governmental policy. That can be a huge problem when they succeed, as the outcome of such influence led directly to the long, drawn-out and very expensive Iraq War. This, of course, was heavily lobbied for by charter members (and war criminals) DICK Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld of the far-right neocon think tank Project for a New American Century.
The Heritage Foundation was begun in 1973 by founders Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner (current CEO at left), and brewer Joseph Coors. Each of these men were far-right ideologues whose ambition was to spread conservative dogma far and wide. Weyrich made the notoriously cynical statement, “…I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country abd they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Former Heritage vice president Burton Pines once said, “We’re not here to be some kind of Ph.D committee giving equal time. Our role is to provide conservative public-policy makers with arguments to bolster our side.” THIS is the type of organization that was founded: in typical current conservative Republican tradition, it is dedicated to the disenfranchisement of potential Democratic voters and will lie to see that its aims are realized. So much for honest research. Another prominent early supporter was billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, who has a long, long history of unabashed lying in media to promote far-right causes. The modus operandi of the Heritage Foundation has been clear for a long time. As soon as one of their “goons” produces a position paper, he or she is immediately whisked onto various news or political talk shows to promote it. This is a skillfully designed strategy to fool the public into accepting woefully bad or dicriminatory conservative Republican policy proposals. Unfortunately, it often works. Heritage Foundation liars are very often revered and are quoted extensively over at Fox “News” and far-right talk radio, but their presence is felt all throughout the media, and even in Congress. Past members have included Edwin Meese and Paul Bremer, among many others. Like most Republican think tanks, this group is also funded by billionaires and is even affiliated with the notorious Koch Foundation Associate Program.
A good example of a Heritage Foundation stooge who has appeared on the talk show curcuit is their Bradley Fellow in Labor Policy, James Sherk, who has been with them since 2006. This clean-cut, All-American boy type has served as an eager-beaver parrot for all the current conservative Republican economic and politically nonsensical themes like limited government, curtailing regulation, opposing minimum wage increases, supporting the permanent extension of Bush’s ridiculous tax cuts for the wealthy, plus a host of anti-union, anti-working American issues. He, like ultra far-right conservative bedfellow Sharron Angle and others, claims that extended unemployment compensation is an entitlement that the unemployed are abusing. FOR A REALLY GOOD LAUGH, GO TO www.youtube.com/ AND KEY IN “TO HELL W/ THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION.” This is a July 2010 interview on “Hardball” Sherk appeared in, and he deservedly gets ripped up pretty well by host Chris Matthews. Be sure to take in his NERDY, fake aristocratic airs, his effected upper-class accent, and the way he obediently parrots, over and over, the kooky far-right line about the unemployed refusing work because the government makes it easy to do so. This was a refreshing and rare example of a conservative being exposed as a total fool on network TV. It was also Sherk who earlier advanced the fraudulent claim that UAW workers make $70 per hour (the REAL figure, taking into account wages and benefits, is actually about HALF that—quite a difference)! THESE are the types of yahoos the Heritage Foundation dispatches to lie to the public! It’s gotten to the point where if it comes from the Heritage Foundation, YOU KNOW IT’S BULL!
Any claim made and publicized by the Heritage Foundation (or, for that matter, its cousins the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute) should be ignored by all until it has been confirmed by at least two other reputable sources. To this day, each continues to assert the now-discredited Milton Friedman “supply side, trickle down” economic theory that tax cuts for the rich and lessened regulation will create jobs. You and I, however, know this to be a total fallacy, as the past 30 years and today’s Patriotic Millionaires have abundantly proven. For these disingenous far-right “think tanks” are blatantly partisan and agenda-driven. They cannot and should not be trusted!