The Right-Wing Express

AlterNet: MediaCulture: The Right-Wing Express:

[. . .] Consider that the conservative political movement, which now has a hammerlock on every aspect of federal government, has a media message machine fed by more than 80 large non-profit organizations ? let’s call them the Big 80 ? funded by a gaggle of right-wing family foundations and wealthy individuals to the tune of $400 million a year.

And the Big 80 groups are just the “non-partisan” 501(c)(3) groups. These do not include groups like the NRA, the anti-gay and anti-abortion groups, nor do they include the political action committees (PACs) or the “527” groups (so named for the section of the tax code they fall under), like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which so effectively slammed John Kerry’s campaign in 2004.

[. . .] Stein describes how the message machine works. If Rush Limbaugh wants something on vouchers – it’s immediately in his hands; if Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly needs a guest to talk about the “death tax,” he’s got him from one of the think tanks. Stein estimates that 36,000 conservatives have been trained on values, issues, leadership, use of media and agenda development. These are not the elected officials, but rather the cadre of the conservative network. Stein figures that the core leaders of the Big 80 groups he studied are about 2,000 people who make between $75,000 and $200,000 and have all been trained in the Leadership Institute.

And, evaluating “our side” in light of this competition,

[. . .] “Our major obstacles are atomization, balkanization and minimalization of our grassroots and national groups, our donors and our political operations,” Stein adds. “We have very few effective strategic alliances among existing organizations (more this time electorally than ever before); very few organizations with the scale necessary to make a major impact; too few passionately progressive, politically motivated individual donors who know one another and work together; lack of long-term strategic thinking; lack of appropriate and necessary coordination and discipline; to name a few.”

Go read the rest.

If you find this subject interesting and important, I’d like to put in a good word for some of the people who have done a lot of the background research that helps bring this to light. Much of my own work and the work of people like Rob Stein (from the linked article) was made possible by the information collected and put online over at Cursor’s Media Transparency. (I am on their Advisory Board.) Go over there and scroll down through the articles they have been putting up. Then click on the Movement button and read for a while. It’s all there.

So what I’m getting at here is that it takes money to be able to continue work like this. Think about helping them out by contributing. Small amounts are OK, because there are a lot of us.