Monday, October 8, 2007

Powerlineblog and conservative philanthropy

Every now and then you get a glimpse of where the true power is over at Powerlineblog. Today Scott Johnson has a post up titled "Coming attractions," that publicizes two upcoming conservative movement events.

The first is the "Winston Churchill Dinner" being held by the Claremont Institute in California next month. Johnson and his partner in publishing John Hinderaker, are both "fellows" there. The Institute itself is partially funded by conservative philanthropy, receiving at least $9 million since 1985. The keynote speaker, and recipient of the Institute's "2007 Statesmanship Award," will be Donald Rumsfeld, who has numerous ties to conservative philanthropy, including a new appointment as a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution, one of the top policy shops receiving conservative philanthropy. Doing the presenting will be none other than the Bookie of Virtue Bill Bennett, who is also a Claremont Institute Fellow, and is as central to conservative philanthropy as you can get. Johnson calls Bennett a "Powerline friend" in his post.

The second event is the "fall briefing" for a local Twin Cities "think tank" the Center of the American Experiment (CAE). When last we heard from CAE its future seemed to be in doubt due to internal divisions that resulted in the departure of senior staff and the return of the institution's founder Mitch Pearlstein. The Center has gotten a fair amount from conservative philanthropy, and if you look at its roster and events you can tell it is deeply intertwined in both the national conservative movement and Republican politics. Unsurprisingly Johnson is also a board member there, and Hinderaker was in the past.

The speaker at the CAE event will be none other than Bill Kristol, who's going to talk about "The New World," which I guess is code for the predicament Republicans now find themselves in. Kristol, son of one of the movement's founders, sits at the nexus of conservative philanthropy, media and politics. His organization, the Project for The New American Century, laid the groundwork for the invasion of Iraq, the most foolish war in 2,000 years (according to Martin Van Creveld).

A look at the CAE's quarterly publication reveals authors from across the conservative movement, including Johnson and Hinderaker, Chester Finn, Vin Weber, Sally Pipes, Abigail Thernstrom, Jean Bethke Elshtain, David Frum, David Blankenhorn, Wade Horn, Maggie Gallagher, and many more. Two writers for the CAE quarterly are now in positions of power at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. One is Doug Tice, who was a conservative editorial writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press who is now the political editor at the Star Tribune (not kidding). The second is Katherine Kersten, who was in on the founding of the CAE, has held numerous positions there (including paid ones), and was an op-ed writer at the Trib. After Kersten was removed from the op-ed page at the paper she got a job there as a news columnist, a job she holds to this very day. Kersten is so political, in fact, that she was on a small, select committee that picked people for top jobs in Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's administration.

As I have argued in numerous venues, the CAE is a "think tank" in name only; it is really an extension of the Republican party, and a cog in the larger conservative movement. The fact that a good friend of theirs is the political editor at the Trib, and one of its founders is a news columnist are indicators of a strong influence on the definition of news in the Twin Cities. Kersten herself often works in tandem with Powerlineblog; frequently you'll see a particular topic covered by Johnson or Hinderaker, only to have the story appear in Kersten's column shortly thereafter. It works the other way, too. In another post just above the one referenced in this post Johnson links to three recent Kersten columns warning of the anarchy awaiting the country for tolerating Critical Mass bike rides.

When Kersten was appointed as a news columnist I complained to the paper's Reader's Rep (who has since been reassigned) that I knew of no news columnists who hadn't come up through the ranks of reporting. She tried to convince me, unsuccessfully, that Kersten had previous journalistic experience, but the truth is that she hadn't any. In actuality Kersten was and is a career movement conservative, working not just at CAE but also as a board member at the odious Institute on Religion and Democracy.

In their own way the conservatives have setup an institutional supply-side structure for getting their message out. First they create and subsidize hundreds of institutions like Claremont and CAE; next they find reliable Republicans to staff them. These institutions then create content for media dissemination, which is taken care of by blogs like Powerline and columnists like Kersten. Paul Krugman recently wrote that Americans don't like conservative and Republican policies on most major issues, and haven't for some time. Yet, Republicans keeps racking up political success stories. Krugman argues the reason for this dichotomy resides in the power of the conservative movement. He's on to something.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

As someone somewhere once said:

Heh.

Anonymous said...

You are a loon if you think that a short guy like Bill Kristol rules the world. Most lefties are short, and dull. QED.

Anonymous said...

I have atttended CAE for the last 12 years and it definitely is a conservative think tank! You ought to attend , you might learn something.

Anonymous said...

Too funny!

ed said...

You're onto something, here, Levine, I mean ONTO SOMETHING! While clandestinely investigating their blog, I turned up THIS little item... BEHOLD!!!

powerlineblog.com/aboutus.php


...thought they could pull the wool over our eyes, eh?

Theop said...

Powerline is a Bill Clinton Ron Podesta sleeper cell when the moment is right they will endorse Hillary. No, No,wait just wait a minute Powerline is controlled by Caesar Chavez and the ghost of Che Guevere. No their Zionists. No their Aliens (beam me up Scotty) or... This blog really slays me. You mean people with common political goals and ideas hang around together. Quick get a Camera.
Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

Where do the Illuminati figure in?

Anonymous said...

Levine, what do you make of the Dartmouth connection? You cover the MN cabal, but you need to look at DC linkage as well. Is Mirengoff working the power corridors of our Capitol. This Manchurian web needs to be looked into and reported to Al Franken pronto.

Anonymous said...

OK, I got here from Powerline thinking that there was actually something worthwhile here, but...not!

Anonymous said...

OMFG, conservatives associate with other conservatives! Krikey!

Beckwith said...

Quick, get this guy some Thorazine.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, must keep closer watch on Powerline guys. When you think of all the nefarious things they could be doing, it makes you nervous and depressed being powerless to stop them. Powerless... Powerline... What does it all mean? What is the hidden connection? Power? Line? Less? What is it? Further study needed...

Anonymous said...

Scary. You mean they associate with groups they openly claim membership to, frequently cite openly, etc. etc.?

I don't know if I can sleep tonight.

Eris said...

We need a PowerLineWatch blog, to expose all the evil verbal chicanery of those darn Joooooooish right wing lawyers!

They're out to circumcize us all!!!! That would spoil wonderful wholesome progressive picnics like this one!!

The RIGHT WIBG JOOOOOISH ABUSE MUST END!

Anonymous said...

Why isn't someone investigating George Bush's links to the Republican party? Are we blind?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

Your extensive research has, unfortunately, uncovered too much of the TRUTH. I regret to inform you that, because you have published the TRUTH, you have been targeted for immediate elimination. Do not bother trying to contact the authorities. It won't do you any good. They work for me.

Sincerely,

Anonymous

Director of Wetboys
VRWC

"I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Anonymous said...

so let's look the other direction (left), shall we...
Media Matters, Hillary, Soros, DNC
Morons.org, Hillary, Soros, DNC
get where I'm going....
the difference is no one is hiding behind any of these orgs as they are on the left.
the paranoia coming from loons like this is scary enough, but we got a bonified nut case conspiracy theorist trying to win the DNC nomination.

Hoffmonster

Anonymous said...

Heh heh, what does it say about a person when they consider "friends" and "associates" to be synonyms for "conspirators" ?

Yo, Levine, when Hillary uses the phrase "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" she's simply engaging in an Orwellian attempt to demonize a political party.

Grok?

It's not *really* a conspiracy, she's *knows* it's not a conspiracy, she's just looking to manipulate useful idiots such as....well....you.

Anonymous said...

Poor Captain Ed must feel so left out.

Anonymous said...

1) I'm an American, and I like conservative views and Republican views (although not the ones that aren't conservative) on nearly all major issues.

2) You say that Americans do not like the views mentioned above in (1)

Thus, do I not exist? AHHHHHHHHH!!!! Rush Limbaugh has made me not exist, now what do I do!!!!!

Anonymous said...

One item that is a fact, the Powerline posts have historically been pretty racist. The Powerline authors do not like blacks or hispanics and their writings make this clear.

Anonymous said...

"..laid the groundwork for the invasion of Iraq, the most foolish war in 2,000 years (according to Martin Van Creveld)"

Goodness, if Martin Van Creveld thinks so IT MUST BE TRUE!

Anonymous said...

One item that is a fact, the Powerline posts have historically been pretty racist. The Powerline authors do not like blacks or hispanics and their writings make this clear.

I couldn't help but notice the absence of any support whatsoever for the GLBT community in your cowardly anonymous post. You are obviously a raging homophobe, as your writing makes clear. This is most likely a defensive response to the self-loathing you experience as a result of your own latent homosexual desires.

Mark Gisleson said...

I see that Power Line's readers are all still named anonymous. Wise of them. When you keep your money buried in the backyard, you really don't want to draw attention to yourself -- or the bank/brokerage/law firm you work at.

WHT said...

I urge everyone to take their money out of TCF National Bank if they don't agree with the spew of VP Scott Johnson of Powerline. I have drained my accounts at TCF and feel better for it.

Anonymous said...

those powerline guys make matzos out of the blood of Christian children - beware!

Bleepless said...

The only way you could have learned all this incredible intelligence is if you were watching from an invisible UFO or maybe suborned my thetan, as a result of which YOW! HERE THEY COME AGAIN ANSWER THE PHONE!

Spot said...

Rob, This is one of the finest gatherings of what Charlie Q. calls the "blog chihuahuas" that Spot has ever seen. Congratulations.

P. Aaron said...

It has taken them 27 years to raise a measly 9 million bucks? I thought that Richard Mellon Scaife guy printed the stinkin' currency!

Anonymous said...

I am a retired tech who doesn't subscribe to AOL but was recently helping out an older neighbor by setting up her computer. I was shocked when getting her AOL configured as at completion of sign-on AOL flashed a headline story with Powerlineblogger as the source. Wow, since when is Powerlineblogger "headline news", I feared? I screen captured this "news", an its expected criticism of Michelle Obama, making a note to do some research on this later.

I worried, when did this frightening organization become a headline generator for media giants such as AOL? I guess I have been asleep the past couple of years. A search now shows this radical "news source" has somehow managed to be validated in many sources. Frightening!

I recall reading an article in my local North Texas newspaper a couple of years ago with the statement in an editorial that claimed "17,000 scientists say there is no such thing as global warming". To see where this came from, I immediately googled this phrase and found only 4 hits, the newspaper The News Connection, The American Thinker (another "powerline type" publication), Powerlineblog and some website that allowed users to print and mail-in a form denouncing global warming as fact, having a blank name and address field as well as a checkbox confirming the sender was a scientist. I thought this strange that as a group these 4 were proclaiming this as a fact, while using these online forms solely as the proof.

I went back two weeks later to show a friend what I had found and shockingly the same search string produced hundreds of hits and including to my surprise the BBC.

At that time I said to myself; Houston, we do indeed have a problem!