You can lead a whore to culture

Last week, Fareed Zakaria — bless his anti-democracy Sinophilic soul — got a Cato flunkie to admit that 40% of Cato’s money his own research money came from the petroleum industry.

This week, there’s a list of how much the various Think Tank ministers of propaganda make. Ed Feulner of Heritage makes almost a million a year.

What amuses me most about the think tanks is the strange intellectual respect they are accorded, as if having written a book or earned a PhD made people immune to the lure of lying for money. I say if you drag a 200K salary through a library, you never know what you’ll find.

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36 replies
  1. 1
    Zandar says:

    So, by McMegan McMath the other 120% of Cato’s funding comes out of Ayn Rand’s ass.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    “Petroleum petroleum” does that double its powers?

  3. 3
    C Nelson Reilly says:

    Strobe Talbott should get a raise just for having an awesome name

  4. 4
    james hare says:

    Shit, for the right money I’ll start writing global warming denial papers. It’s a quite a bit easier to analyze an issue when the conclusion is predetermined.

  5. 5

    Well, we already knew they were whores, it was just a question of price.

  6. 6
    me says:

    Blagojevich is well hung. Or at least the jury is.

  7. 7
    New Yorker says:

    What amuses me most about the think tanks is the strange intellectual respect they are accorded, as if having written a book or earned a PhD made people immune to the lure of lying for money.

    C’mon Doug. Everyone knows that the only PhDs who lie in order to get more money are climate scientists.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Horticulture? Shit, another gardening thread.

  9. 9
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @New Yorker:

    Everyone knows that the only PhDs who lie in order to get more money are climate scientists.

    WIN!

    Also, why do people still labor under the assumption that Heritage is any sort of serious research facility in the first place? It’s just a cog in the wingnut welfare machine.

  10. 10
    russell says:

    Holy crap, I’m going back to graduate school!

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Sure, he fixes the post and now my comment makes no sense. Oh well, I should be used to not making any sense by now.

  12. 12
    DougJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Fixed it, thanks.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DougJ: Now you make me look ungracious. You are such a bastard. Oh yeah, you are welcome.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    If you start a think tank would you hire me? I’d be willing to write blog postings for a mere $99,9999 a year.

    Whenever NPR brings on an “expert” from a think tank, I immediately change the station. The talking points of partisan organizations is of no interest to me.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @beltane: I would only do it for $249,999. I’ll be damned if I am going to let them jack up my taxes.

  16. 16
    Redshift says:

    @beltane: It’s especially obnoxious when they have a panel where the “two sides” are wingnut “think” tanks and journalists. It both elevates right-wing propaganda, and reinforces the idea that journalists represent “the left.”

    The Diane Rehm Show used to do that quite a lot during the depths of the Bush Administration, and I used to email to bitch them out about it. They seem to have gotten better since then; they still give wingnut “fellows” unwarranted status, but now they usually have panels with “experts” from the right and left, or only journalists.

  17. 17
    The next to last samurai says:

    I think those damn think tanks should be outlawed by a subclause added to the 1st amendment.

  18. 18
    jeffreyw says:

    …”but you cannot make him think”.

  19. 19
    Steve says:

    The Cato flunkie didn’t admit that Cato gets 40% of its money from the oil industry. He admitted that he, the flunkie, gets 40% of his money from the oil industry. Which of course has nothing to do with why he goes around denying global warming.

    Cato gets plenty of oil money, but it’s not clear how much. There are oil industry bigshots who are among Cato’s larger donors, but the money isn’t coming directly from oil companies like the flunkie’s money is.

  20. 20
    Redshift says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: Wingnut welfare “think” tanks were created because right-wing billionaires were convinced that academia was biased toward the left, and they needed pseudo-academia that would reliably produce right-wing conclusions. They were deliberately created with all the trappings of academia (“fellows” and “distinguished scholars”) , and unfortunately, the media are suckers for that stuff.

    Just like the industry-friendly “sound science” that started with the tobacco wars and continues with global warming denialism, our media are apparently incapable of grasping that “research” where the conclusions are predetermined and the evidence is chosen to support it isn’t research at all.

    Pretty sad state of affairs.

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    Too bad you can’t drown these Cato stooges in the think tank.

  22. 22

    @C Nelson Reilly: Even better: Strobe Talbott, III (Nelson Strobridge “Strobe” Talbott, III).

    I’d be impressed, but as I have mentioned before, I am a V, so when it comes to WASP-y names, I can hardly be beat.

    Now, if you can roll up with a six-o, I’ll be impressed.

  23. 23
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Redshift:

    Yeah…pretty clever move by the wingnut welfare sugar daddies, I must admit, but still…isn’t the cat out of the bag as far as this goes? Like, don’t media types know full well that Heritage is exactly what you describe?

  24. 24

    Also, if I had known how much juice he was pulling in, I would have kicked him in the ‘nads when my department was outsourced.

  25. 25
    Betsy says:

    My father keeps telling me I should adopt conservative views. It would make my (expected) PhD worth something. :P

  26. 26
    Geeno says:

    @AhabTRuler, V: Ya mean like George Foreman VI?

  27. 27

    “If you drag a 200K salary through a library, you never know what you’ll find.”

    That’s good. Very good.

  28. 28
    Turgid Jacobian says:

    Ani DiFranco saysI say every tool is a weapon Heritage Scholar if you hold pay it right.

  29. 29

    @Geeno: Nope. Naming six kids after yourself is not exactly the same as six generations sharing a direct patrilineal name. Not the least of which difference is that when George Foremans begin to depart this mortal coil, the numbers will change until, freak accidents notwithstanding, there will be a George Foreman, unnumbered. OTOH, I am now, and will always be a V.

    I mean, that and a buck-fifty will get you coffee, but it at least says something about familial continuity, rather than fecundity (not that there is anything wrong with that).

  30. 30
    birthmarker says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: The Heritage Foundation provides a speaker’s bureau type service so if the media need an expert on a topic, they can readily book him or her. Then the speaker gets to spew the talking points which the interviewer in most cases is not that knowledgeable about, because s/he might interview multiple guests per program. My understanding is that the HF also provides the talking points which the speaker can access on the internet. And I guess if you vary too much from the script you lose your wingnut welfare spot. To top it off, the whole think tank racket is financed with tax deductible donations from corporations.

    David Brock’s book The Republican Noise Machine lays out the whole sordid mess.

    It’s a shame to watch our democracy slip away.

  31. 31
    BrianM says:

    To be fair, it’s all the fault of the word “re-search”. How could people, much less PhDs, be expected to know it didn’t mean “searching anew for conclusions our betters have already drawn”?

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @AhabTRuler, V:

    Not the least of which difference is that when George Foremans begin to depart this mortal coil, the numbers will change until, freak accidents notwithstanding, there will be a George Foreman, unnumbered. OTOH, I am now, and will always be a V.

    Actually, according to Miss Manners, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work for everyone who’s not royalty: as elder members die off, you’re supposed to move up in the hierarchy so, assuming that both your father and your grandfather are still alive, by the official rules you should now be III, your dad should be Jr., and your grandfather should be Sr., regardless of where they stood in the hierarchy previously. If you had a son, he would be IV, but he would move up to III if one of the older men died.

    I mean, no one’s going to come along and force you to drop the “V,” but I’m afraid you don’t actually have the force of tradition behind you in keeping it.

    /pedant

  33. 33
    mclaren says:

    Don’t underestimate the power of writing things down. A raging kook who screams spittle-flecked hysteria in the public parks gets derided as a loon; the exact same spittle-flecked hysteria written down in a book and issued in an elegant hardcover edition gets deep respect and awed reviews in hallowed literary periodicals.

    As for earning a PhD, only 25% of Americans earn even a four-year college degree. Barely 3% of Americans go on to earn a PhD. That’s a qualification. It means you’ve done something 97% of the population hasn’t.

  34. 34
    some other guy says:

    It means you’ve done something 97% of the population hasn’t.

    Something of value, though? The dudes from Jackass have done things 97% of the population hasn’t. Zakaria’s PhD in political science, for instance, seems about as useful as Johnny Knoxville having his scrotum run over by a golf cart.

    Maybe my bitterness about the Masters of the Universe fucking us all over is making me a touch over-populist these days, but I can’t help but wonder if the world would be a better place had all those PhDs in finance and economics decided instead to seek careers in getting gored by wild animals and setting themselves on fire on MTV.

  35. 35
    timb says:

    @Betsy: I noticed in that law school. If you are willing to pimp conservative ideas, you are in a distinct minority of somewhat smart people and you will always have someone on the inside who will hire just for your “beliefs.”

    It’s just one more way that shows that the best cultural critic of the last 75 years was Douglas Adams. In So Long and Thanks for All the Fish on eof the main characters meets a prostitute who claims to be provide a special service to rich people. “I tell them it’s OK to be rich.”

    “You what?” he said.

    The girl laughed and stepped forward a little out of the shadow. She was tall, and had that kind of self-possessed shyness which is a great trick if you can do it.

    “It’s my big number,” she said. “I have a Master’s degree in Social Economics and can be very convincing. People love it. Especially in this city.”

    If you can convince Richie Rich he deserves it (and he desperately wants to believe he does), you are set for life.

  36. 36
    timb says:

    @mclaren: Then why do so many of them work at Barnes and Noble

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