Donald Gutstein, professor in SFU’s School of Communication, writes frequently on the web, often about think tanks and the dogmatic, distorted postures we’ve come to expect from these groups. A piece he wrote a few months ago is still worth attention: CANADA WEST FOUNDATION REWRITE HISTORY: THINK TANK TRACKER
I find the term “think-tank” objectionable. It implies collective intelligence, reason and unprejudiced examinations of subjects that need careful and broad minded consideration. Only a fool imagines most organizations pretending to be think tanks even aspire to meet these standards. They are typically echo chambers for their sponsoring organizations.
Of course, most represent right wing groups of wealthy individuals and businesses. A survey of journalists in Washington DC concluded that influential conservative think tanks outnumbered progressives by 14 to 1. In Canada, right wing advocates may not predominate in the same proportion but they’re close.
The Vancouver Sun publishes material from these groups as if they are adjuncts. Here are a few:
- The Fraser Institute
- Canadian Taxpayers Federation,
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business
- Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
- C.D. Howe Institute
- Conference Board of Canada
- Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
After publication of Gutstein’s Not a Conspiracy Theory, Charlie Smith of The Georgia Straight wrote:
Do you ever wonder why so many of the Fraser Institute’s right-wing commentaries get into Canadian daily newspapers? …Maybe you’re troubled by the constant media attacks on medicare or on the scientific consensus about global warming. …Donald Gutstein explains how Canadians are being duped by a sophisticated, broad-ranging, and reactionary public-relations assault financed by some of North America’s largest corporations.