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Talk:American Majority Institute

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This is all the information I was able to find with Google as of today.

Jrv 17:05 4 Aug 2003 (EDT)


A Wiki_P liaison may want to inform them of this.

Rationale for removing AMI page

Intro

I removed the data from the American Majority Institute (AMI) page.

I have been looking at think tanks and proper web pointers to them for several days now, whenever I have a few extra minutes to do it. I have a two column data table on my talk page that reflects the results so far (not even out of the As yet). As a starting point, I have been using lists of Think Tank Organizations acquired from SourceWatch, Wikipedia, other listings found while researching, and personal notes.

The American Majority Institute is a strange case. It was first mentioned publicly in late Spring/early Summer 2003 by John Podesta as a progressive analog to Right Wing/Conservative Think Tanks, and Podesta claimed that they would have a $10,000,000 annual budget.

The rumors, allegations and wild-hare-up-butt blogosis regarding this organization has been transmitted throughout the web. There were many claims that it was totally funded with a 10 million dollar grant directly from Soros. Almost laughable, except that many people actually believe this upon reading it, and will not think on their own. Just how much liquid capital do these people believe George Soros was willing to pool and toss into one election cycle anyway? Even though I did not delve into researching contributions, I found many references to sources of funding, including a Rockefeller Family trust, and a couple of nouveau-tech-riche(for lack of a better term) foundations.

It also looks like the American Majority Institute, although registered with the IRS as a a 501c3, was never totally rolled-out operationally using that name, and instead now calls itself The Center for American Progress (CAP).

This has caused me to think that there may be problems with open-source/wiki-styled/creative commons/copylefted data being easily web-accessed as a publicly accepted authoritarian source. It illustrates the dangers of simple copy and paste article generation that seems to be going on between Wiki_P and Disinfo_P.

Please, trust nothing without a double-check. Mistakes, errors, myths etc. get magnified this way and slowly, inexorably begin to infect the data streams. There is much discussion on this site regarding bias, and rightfully so, but I've not seen any discussion regarding the spread and multiplication of bad data through this vector.

What I Found Regarding AMI

Never Fully Operational

Googling the string, "American Majority Institute", did not offer up a url for the organization in the first two pages(20 records) of the search result. This is a highly unlikely for a public policy org. which, before its official roll-out was being used by its originators as a vehicle for access to newstalk shows.

Almost all of the references to AMI I found on these first 20 search results, stated either that The AMI was a tank in the making, or a shadow-tank with dark and devious Democratic intent, leading me to believe that it had never had a real web presence.

Oddly, I found an intern application form (pdf) on CAP servers, and return mailserver address was the domain americanprogress.org. I also found a couple of references from different University listings of potential internships for AMI, but never any direct web-pointer to the organization itself, one email address given was a yahoo account. It is not always easy to date webpages, but most of this data seems to have been published prior to 2004.

There also seems to have been a spike in blog references in the Spring/Summer of 2003 (see reference to dangers of bad data transmittal above). This is where some of the more outrageous allegations regarding the AMI were found, both pro and con.

No Website Found

A low probability event for a tank started in the 21st century, and its founder, a well-known former presidential advisor, openly discussing it on news talk shows. Podesta, at least once, is quoted saying that AMI's web presence would have would have an edgy interface.

2 Orgs Were IRS Registered

These organizations were registered with the IRS in '03

but presently, no easy web entry pointer has been located for either.

Asymmetric Data

Deep into the well of the google search, I ran into two small sized data that seem significant.

Capitol Hill Blue

In July, 2003, Capitol Hill Blue published a UPI wire story which stated that the American Majority Institute was an interim name, and maybe not permanent.

{"
Democratic Party insiders are placing their hopes for increasing the relevance of progressive thought in the Washington policy community on a new liberal-minded think tank aimed at countering conservative dominance of the sector.
Many in the political and think tank community are convinced the group will operate more as a political outfit than an academically inclined policy group...
[. . .]
Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta is leading the group, which is scheduled to officially open its doors this fall. It is currently functioning as the American Majority Institute, but the name is not yet definite.
"}
Bourge, Christian; (UPI Think Tanks Correspondent); "Liberal think tank debuts"; Published in Capitol Blue July 8, 2003 - [1]
ABC News

During the '04 presidential election, ABC News had somehow scammed possession of, and subsequently published, a letter rough draft written by Kerry head election honcho Jim Jordan as he was getting the boot. Jordan was composing it to his replacement, Mary Beth Cahill. Towards the end of the letter, a one sentence extracontexual reference, which I believe is a response to a previous query, says,

"We get confused too, but wasn't the American Majority Institute the LAST name for what is now the Center for American Progress?"
Brower, Brooke; Chalian, David; Halperin, Mark; Todorovich, Lisa; Travers, Karen; and Tzemach, Gayle; "Dated Jordan, Married Cahill: It's the Campaign Manager, Stupid"; ABC News: The Note, 2004.11.10 - [2]

This seems sensible and credible, as official citations of The AMI or anyone speaking credentialed under its color abruptly ended in Fall of '03, which is approximately the same time that the Center for American Progress got rolled out.

This is why I removed the page.

--Hugh Manatee 16:49, 15 Jan 2005 (EST) - (original - 03:48, 15 Jan 2005 (EST))


Content that was removed

The American Majority Institute is a liberal think tank expected to open in September 2003. The project is being lead by John D. Podesta and will have an annual operating budget of at least $10 million. This would make it the best-funded of the liberal think tanks.

Officers

Contact

American Majority Institute
15th and H Streets N.W.
(exact address not known at this time)
Washington, DC
Phone (unknown)
URI (unknown)

References

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0804-08.htm
http://www.hillnews.com/news/060403/tank.aspx
http://www.patiopundit.com/archives/003155.html
http://www.votelaw.com/cgi/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=967