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Could a New York Times Exposé Help Level the Playing Field for Advocates in the Press?


Could a New York Times Exposé Help Level the Playing Field for Advocates in the Press?

Darcey Rakestraw

In its recent series “Think Tanks Inc.,” the New York Times exposed the deep financial ties between corporations and think tanks, outlining how corporate donors reaped influence and rewards from such “mutually beneficial” relationships. As someone who has worked in Washington, D.C.


"Politicians lie, except if they're facing legal jeopardy (under oath)."
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, said that yesterday on MSNBC.
Apparently Chaffetz's truism doesn't apply to Hillary.
She lies to us whether she's under oath (before Congress) or not.
Because she believes that the law doesn't apply to her.
Hillary has no reason to feel otherwise.
She's been lying to us for years without consequence, legal or otherwise, no thanks to the likes of the NYT and the rest of the corporate media.


When attempts are made to set up a level playing field, or equivalence between the agendas set by rapacious right wing interests and those of humanitarian organizations, I smell a rat.

It's the frame that always pushes the idea of two co-equal sides to any (and every) issue and the frame itself is faulty. In appearing to be fair, it places what is legitimate and what is illegitimate into co-equal camps.

"Will there be a better understanding that all journalism promotes someone’s agenda — whether it’s an advocacy organization like mine that doesn’t take corporate or government funding, or an institution funded by corporations, or a government agency staffed by officials that come and go via a revolving door to industry?

"Moreover, could this exposé lead to public interest organizations with deep expertise in social and economic justice issues getting a little more coverage, and experts beating the drum for war — as just one example — a little less?"

In my view, Ms. Rakestraw rakes at straws on this one.


Did you even read this article? It's not about Hillary. What it does do, if inadvertently, is place the conduct of think tanks whose objectives drastically depart from The Public Good alongside those organizations that are dedicated to that very thing. Then it makes a case for advocacy journalism that essentially works to justify (or whitewash) would be criminal (in a functioning democracy) conduct.

Her bio: "She has over 10 years of experience in media relations and communications, working on a variety of global issues in non-profit, for-profit, and governmental organizations."

I really SMELL the for-profit subliminal message embedded in this essay.


Easy. Change the names of your advocacy groups to The (Whatever) Foundation or Institution.

Two can play that game


I dunno...isn't the issue more "advocacy for what purpose" rather than advocacy itself? NGOs are an important part of civil society specifically because they advocate for causes which might otherwise be ignored or unknown, and provide a voice for those society has deemed unworthy of being listened to. Hence indigenous peoples, children, etc have found some presence on an international stage dedicated to the loud, the powerful, the moneyed, the dominant. Think tanks have the right to advocate as well, the only thing I object to is the damn dishonesty and lack of transparency. The desire to promote self serving agendas secretly is almost criminal, if you ask me, because it involves deceit on a large scale and ripping off the people around them.


Bingo! The author slithers around the premise of the advocacy itself. You made the point more clearly than I did, but I'm glad someone else "got it."


Just follow the money.