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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Culture

Conservative Think Tank Sources


The success of this strategy can be seen in the wide use of conservative think tank personnel by the mass media. Conservative or centre-right think tanks were cited 40% of the time in 2005 and centrist think tanks 47% of the time, compared with progressive or centre-left think tanks 13% of the time. Often think tanks are cited without any indication of their ideological basis or funding sources and their personnel are treated as independent experts. The think tanks themselves are seldom investigated by the media.


Think Tank Political Orientation Number of Citations 2005 Number of Citations 2008
Brookings Institution centrist 3724 2166
Heritage Foundation conservative 2734 922
American Enterprise Institute conservative 2290 985
Cato Institute >conservative/libertarian 2101 591
Council on Foreign Relations centrist >892
Source: Michael Dolny, ‘Study Finds First Drop in Think Tank Cites’, Extra! (May/June 2006); Michael Dolny, ‘Right Ebbs, Left Gains as Media 'Experts'’, Extra! (March 2009)

The editor of the Heritage Foundation’s journal observed that by the end of the 1980s op-ed pages were dominated by conservatives. Media commentator and progressive columnist Norman Solomon also notes that the mainstream media in tend to offer either experts who support the status quo or “populists of the right-wing variety.” He points out that it is unusual for media forums to include “unabashedly progressive critiques of the negative effects of corporate power?”

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