Monday, October 03, 2011

The Truth about SourceWatch

SourceWatch is a propaganda site funded by an extreme left-wing, anti-capitalist and anti-corporate organization, the Center for Media and Democracy. Just like the untrustworthy Wikipedia the content can be written and edited by ordinary web users. Users who all conveniently share an extreme left-wing bias. SourceWatch is frequently cited by those seeking to smear individuals and organizations who do not share their extreme left-wing bias since they cannot find any legitimate criticisms from respected news sources.

SourceWatch (Discover the Networks)
A project of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), [...]

SourceWatch also seeks to expose what it calls the "propaganda activities of public relations firms" and the activities of organizations working "on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests." These "exposes," which tend to be critical of their subjects, deal predominantly with conservative entities. [...]

As with the online reference Wikipedia, the contents of SourceWatch are written and edited by ordinary Web users. Says SourceWatch: "You don't need any special credentials to participate -- we shun credentialism along with other propaganda techniques." While stating that it seeks to maintain fairness in the profiles and articles appearing on its website, SourceWatch does acknowledge that "ignoring systemic bias and claiming objectivity is itself one of many well-known propaganda techniques." [...]

...The perspectives are mostly leftist; the entries rely heavily on leftist and far-leftist sources.

Center for Media and Democracy (Discover the Networks)
An anti-capitalist, anti-corporate organization that seeks to expose right-wing "public relations spin and propaganda".

Established in 1983, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) aims to "strengthe[n] participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda" -- focusing largely on what it views as the transgressions of political conservatives. Another CMD objective is to assist liberal and leftist "grassroots citizen activism that promotes public health, economic justice, ecological sustainability and human rights." [...]

In CMD's view, capitalism generally, and corporations in particular, are the principal root causes of societal ills in the U.S. and abroad. The Capital Research Center, which rates the ideological leanings of nonprofit organizations, places CMD near the extreme far left of the spectrum. [...]

Members of the CMD Board of Directors include: Joseph Mendelson, a former Director of Friends of the Earth and co-founder of the environmental organization Center for Food Safety; Anna Lappe, co-founder of the social justice organization Small Planet Institute [...]

The most notable CMD Board member is Ellen Braune, whose leftist affiliations are extensive and longstanding. She currently serves as Vice President of Communications at the Ms. Foundation for Women, and was formerly a Senior Vice President at Fenton Communications and a Communications Director for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). Part of the Soviet-controlled World Peace Council, CISPES was established in America in 1980 by high-ranking members of the Salvadoran Communist Party and Cuban intelligence to support El Salvador's murderous guerrilla bands and to influence American public opinion through protests and one-sided disinformation.

CMD was founded by the leftist writer and environmental activist John Stauber, who continues to serve as the Center's Executive Director. Stauber began his activism in high school when he organized anti-Vietnam War protests and early Earth Day events. The co-author (with SourceWatch founder Sheldon Rampton) of six books, Stauber created the now-defunct website He is also an unpaid advisor to several organizations, including the Action Coalition for Media Education, the Center for Food Safety, the Liberty Tree Foundation, the Media Education Foundation, and the Organic Consumers Association. [...]

An April 2001 commentary in the liberal publication Village Voice said of Rampton and Stauber: "These guys come from the far side of liberal."

Center for Media & Democracy (Activist Cash)
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) is an outfit of left-wing attack dogs disguised as an independent media and information outlet. The group characterizes pro-business or free-market advocacy as bought P.R. for major companies, but CMD takes significant sums of money from left-wing foundations to fund its agitprop.

CMD began primarily as a project of career far-left activists John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, who used CMD as a platform from which to publish a series of books. Since Stauber and Rampton’s retirements, CMD has been run by Lisa Graves, a career Democratic Party and left-liberal activist who previously worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The group operates the publication PR Watch and a related Wiki-platform SourceWatch, which present the group’s hostile view of pro-business and free-market groups.

When New York City alt-weekly The Village Voice reviewed one of Stauber and Rampton’s books, the publication noted, “These guys come from the far side of liberal.” Twelve years hasn’t changed anything but the nameplates at CMD: The organization is still anti-corporate and far-left. CMD’s staffers come steeped in years of Democratic Party and left-wing advocacy group politics.

Executive Director Lisa Graves was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Bill Clinton’s Justice Department, moving on to serve the Democratic staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee under Leahy and as Senior Legislative Strategist for the ACLU.

Deputy Director Mary Bottari served as a Press Secretary to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) in the late 1990s. She also worked for the Ralph Nader-founded advocacy organization Public Citizen on that group’s anti-free trade projects.

Freelance Contributor Beau Hodai also has written for liberal magazine In These Times and the magazine of anti-corporate media criticism organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

This continues a tradition established by founder Stauber and his colleague Rampton. Before founding CMD, Stauber was a field director for Jeremy Rifkin’s anti-biotechnology Foundation on Economic Trends. In 1992, Madison’s progressive newspaper, The Capital Times, identified Stauber as a campaign worker for the left-wing insurgent presidential bid of Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) against Bill Clinton. Rampton was a contributor to In These Times and helped to direct the Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua, taking part in a project that he said “channeled more than $7 million in loans to Nicaragua” while that nation was under Sandinista (Marxist) control.

This history of far-left agitation has earned CMD grants from some of the largest left-leaning foundations including the Foundation to Promote Open Society, part of billionaire currency trader George Soros’s progressive philanthropic empire. The Foundation gave CMD $100,000 in 2010.

The left-leaning Tides Foundation has given CMD $160,000 since 2006, including funding a PR Watch “senior researcher” in 2009. The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, another major left-wing foundation which has Lyndon B. Johnson’s former press secretary and PBS host Bill Moyers as its president, has given CMD $250,000 in 2005 and 2006.

In Stauber and Rampton’s day, CMD was directly supported by even more left-wing interests. The duo’s book projects earned grants totaling $47,000 from the Foundation for Deep Ecology, which calls for, among other things, reducing the human population. Despite this history of far-left advocacy and funding, media sources often mistakenly cite CMD’s SourceWatch as an independent watchdog.

SourceWatch (Discover the Networks)
Center for Media and Democracy (Discover the Networks)
Center for Media & Democracy (Activist Cash)

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