May
26
2009

Brookings Institution: 'Liberal,' Centrist… or Extremist?

Poking holes in the Brookings Institution's "preening conceit"–"they bequeath their website with an '.edu' suffix… They are 'scholars.' Just ask them and they'll tell you"–Salon's Glenn Greenwald (5/26/09, ad-viewing required) quotes one blogger fundamentally debunking Brookings mainstay William Glaberson's May 22 New York Times contention that, as U.S. president, Barack Obama "has sworn an oath to protect the country": "Barack Obama did not swear an oath to 'protect the country.' He swore an oath to protect the principles upon which the country was founded and the document in which those principles are enshrined."

Looking more broadly at "Beltway world," in which "the Brookings Institution is a 'liberal' think tank," Greenwald explains that

when it comes to foreign policy and civil liberties, these are three of its most consequential contributions over the last several years: (1) the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq, in the form of Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon (working in tandem, as usual, with the ultra-neoconservative American Enterprise Institute); (2) unquestioning devotion to Israel's right-wing policies, in the form of major funder Haim Saban ("I'm a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel…. On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk"); and (3) indefinite, preventive detention with no charges or trial in the form of Benjamin Wittes (with his close associate, Bush OLC lawyer Jack Goldsmith), who also serves at the right-wing Hoover Institution and writes for the Weekly Standard. Only in Washington would such a group be deemed anything other than extremist.

In fact, U.S. journalists see the Brookings Institute as so far from the "extreme" that they have made it the No. 1 most-cited think every single year since FAIR started tracking such things in 1995. See our annual Think Tank Spectrum report by longtime contributor Michael Dolny.