‘A Cautionary Tip Sheet’ About Think Tanks

It is “our job to know about ‘experts’ conflicts of interest” and share that information with our audience (or not use experts whose conflicts are problematic).  As we’ve said, it’s not optional.

Click here for related reading from JournalistsResource.org. It includes “some questions journalists should ask when researching think tanks.” Among them:

- “Look at the think tank’s annual report. Who is on staff? On the board or advisory council? Search for these people. They have power over the think tank’s agenda; do they have conflicts of interest? Use OpenSecrets’ lobby search, a project of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, to see if any of these individuals are registered lobbyists and for whom. …

- “Does the organization focus on one issue alone? If so, look carefully at its funding. …

- “Does the organization clearly identify its political leanings or its neutrality? …

- “Does the annual report list donors and amounts? Are large donors anonymous? If the answer to the second question is yes, you should be concerned that big donors may be trying to hide their influence. …

- “Does it have a conflict of interest policy?”

(“Memmos;” May 30, 2017)

 

May 30, 2017

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