conner + journalism + america   12

The myth of think tank independence - The Washington Post
"How can journalists report on think tanks without becoming complicit in this system? First, they could approach the commonsense distinction between “policy advice” and lobbying with a bit less credulity. Why should any tax-exempt organization that doesn’t voluntarily disclose its own financial records be described as a source of “independent policy advice”? Reporters could also stop lending credence to the dubious metaphor that portrays think tanks as founts of “academic scholarship.” (Again, the Times article is a case in point: Even as the authors paint a vivid picture of a constitutively impure system, they insist on calling think tanks’ staff members “scholars.”) I don’t mean to suggest that actually existing scholars are somehow immune to market or political forces. They are not, and they should be subject to the same kinds of scrutiny as think tanks. But we should remember that scholarship refers in principle to a system marked by relative transparency and self-regulation through peer review, and that its results are not meant to be for sale."
thinktank  journalism  politics  corruption  america 
february 2015 by conner

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