Friday, March 22, 2013

Know Your Right-wing Shill Organizations: Third Way

You better know, because the New York Times won't bother to scratch the surface for you, and lets Third Way and other wolves of their ilk masquerade in sheep's clothing. 
I showed in these pieces how journalists and Republicans used Third Way's "false flag" status as a self-described "center-left" organization to add faux credibility to their arguments. The Republicans, for example, used comments by one of Third Way's founders deriding Elizabeth Warren as the centerpiece of ads trying to defeat Elizabeth Warren in her run for the U.S. Senate. Similarly, the Washington Post's ultra-deficit hawk, Robert J. Samuelson, used Third Way's support of austerity as faux evidence that even liberals who studied the question realized the need to inflict austerity on the Nation.
One of my prior articles provides the finance background of every member of Third Way's governing board – exposing the total dominance by Wall Street and finance. My goal was to make it impossible for a journalist who did even the most perfunctory research on Third Way to describe it as a "center-left" organization (or any analogous term).
I had not counted on the New York Times failing to clear such a tiny research hurdle. Sadly, on March 20, 2013 the New York Times gave prominent coverage to a study sponsored by Third Way, which the reporter called "a center-left policy research organization" in an article entitled "As Men Lose Economic Ground, Clues in the Family."
Once again, Wall Street's cynical effort to mislead by labeling its far-right economic policies and its lobbying group as "a center-left policy research organization" has triumphed. It triumphed because the curve of Wall Street's cynicism intersected with the curve of lazy journalism at their respective maxima. The reporter emphasized Third Way's faux "center-left" politics and its faux "research" function to make his story and the report seem more credible to the reader. The "central-left" aspect was supposed to lend credibility because the study was portrayed as supporting some extremely conservative memes. If even lefties admit that conservatives are right about the family and marriage, then surely the study is correct. It also suggests that Third Way must be a remarkable research organization because it is a "center-left" group that sponsors research that discredits "center-left" family policies.
None of this faux legitimacy is warranted. Third Way is a lobbyist for Wall Street. It conducts minimal research. Its publications overwhelmingly read like crude propaganda attacking the safety net, trying to create a "moral panic" about the deficit, and praising big finance. Third Way religiously avoids discussing the massive growth of inequality (driven largely by finance). (I used their web site's search feature to find references to "inequality" without results.) Third Way's introduction to the report explains that it is part of a series of pieces designed not to be objective research. Instead, Third Way admits that it is sponsoring pieces it intends to "confront" the Democratic Party in a "provocative" manner – pieces premised on the view that government fails because it embraces the Democratic Party's obsolescent dogmas.
Added bolding.  They can only run this bullshit propaganda with the media's help.  And as exhausting as it is, they need to be called on it.  Again, and again, and again.  Even good reporters have bad days, everyone can get lazy, and there are always fresh-faced new reporters who need an education.

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