News Release

Study Finds Conservative Think Tanks Prevalent in 1997


Brookings, Heritage, AEI and Cato Are Most Often Cited

WASHINGTON-A study released Thursday found that conservative think tanks dominated much of the national debate last year.

The joint study-conducted by sociologist Michael Dolny for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)-found that in 1997, right-leaning think tanks accounted for 53 percent of media citations, while progressive or left-leaning ones received 16 percent.

Of the 25 leading think tanks studied, three of the top four had a conservative slant. The centrist Brookings Institution (2,296 cites) was the most frequently mentioned, followed by the conservative Heritage Foundation (1,813 cites). The conservative American Enterprise Institute (1,323 cites) and the conservative/libertarian Cato Institute (1,286 cites) came in third and fourth. These were the only think tanks mentioned more than 1,000 times in major media. They accounted for nearly as many citations as the next highest 21 think tanks.

The most cited progressive or left-leaning think tanks were the Urban Institute (610 cites) and the Economic Policy Institute (576 cites), which came in ninth and tenth.

The study, published in the May/June issue of FAIR’s magazine Extra!, used the Nexis database of major newspapers, radio and TV transcripts. It is available at FAIR’s website or from IPA.

IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy experts.