The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Steve Rendall
FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)
212-633-6700 x 13

New Study: Right Ebbs, Left Gains as Media 'Experts'

Think tank balance still skews right


The media watch group FAIR's just-released annual think tank study
shows think tank citations declining for the fourth year in a row in
2008, as newspaper column space devoted to national and international
news continued to shrink. The decline was particularly notable for
conservative think tanks' citations, while progressive think tanks
increased in number.

The study, a special online-only feature of FAIR's Extra! magazine, is available at

Among the study's findings:

-The overall decline in citations primarily hit conservative or
right-leaning think tanks, whose share fell from 36 percent to 31
percent in 2008, while progressive or left-leaning think tanks
increased from 17 percent to 21 percent.

-Centrist tanks still dominated with 48 percent, and the centrist
Brookings Institution, the top-cited think tank, had more than twice as
many citations as its nearest competitor, the conservative American
Enterprise Institute.

-Progressives were cited 30 percent less than conservatives, and half as often as centrists.

-Progressive and left-leaning think tanks took a record five spots in
the top 15 most-cited list, and had by far the greatest percentage
increase of citations in this annual survey. The most notable increase
was in progressive think tanks with an economic focus, such as the
Economic Policy Institute, the Center for Economic and Policy Research
and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Michael Dolny, author of the study, noted, "Both the economic crisis
and the poor showing of conservative candidates in the 2008 elections
appear to have raised questions about the role of conservative think
tanks." However, pointing out that despite these gains, progressive
think tanks are still underrepresented compared to their centrist and
conservative counterparts, he also pointed out that "we are still a
long way from true diversity of news sources."

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been advocating for wider and
more balanced spectrum of opinion in corporate media since 1986.

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.