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INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC ACCURACY (IPA) Printer Friendly Page

Fifth Column Public Policy Institute
By Chris Arabia
January 7, 2003

Bill Moyers: Fat Cat for the Fifth Column 
By Jean Pearce
March 6, 2003

How to Stage a Controversy
By Matthew Continetti
March 18, 2004

 


Click here to view a sample Profile.

980 National Press Building
Washington DC
20045

65 Ninth Street - Suite 3
San Francisco, CA
94103


Phone :(202) 347-0020 / (415) 552-5378
Fax :(202) 347-0290 / (415) 552-6787
Email :
dcinstitute@]igc.org / institute@igc.org
URL: Website
Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)'s Visual Map


  • Anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-Israel organization
  • Prior to the War in Iraq, met with Iraqi government officials and publicly denounced American plans for invasion
  • Sponsored actor Sean Penn’s celebrated visit to Baghdad in 2002
  • Sponsored visits to Iraq by Democratic Congressmen Nick Rahall and former Democrat Senator James Abourezk

 

The Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit media clearinghouse that was founded in mid-1997 with the support of grants from the Stern Family Fund and the Florence & John Schumann Foundation (now known as the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy). As a consortium of independent public-policy researchers, analysts, and activists, IPA claims to work on behalf of “progressive and grassroots organizations” whose “voices are commonly excluded or drowned out by government or corporate-backed institutions.” To address this perceived problem, IPA seeks to “increas[e] the reach and capacity” of progressive groups by “getting them and their ideas into the mainstream media.” Toward that end, the Institute distributes, on these groups' behalf, news releases to thousands of journalists and television producers on a regular basis. IPA also makes available a “roster of experts” who are prepared to provide journalists with “insights” that do not “ordinarily get through the various media filters.”

The founder and executive director of IPA is 
Norman Solomon, a former executive with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and an ideological disciple of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. IPA communications director Sam Husseini, who once served as media director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, also has close ties to FAIR.

One of the first major issues that IPA tackled in its earliest days was campaign finance reform
i.e., the effort to minimize the political influence of big money. In 1998, for instance, the Institute aggressively promoted Public Campaignnow known as the Every Voice Centera Schumann Foundation grantee that by 1999 developed a reputation as America's leading authority on the issue.

Whenever the United States is involved in a military conflict, IPA invariably sides with America's enemies. After the Clinton administration began its bombing of
Kosovo in March 1999, for example, the Institute promoted the anti-war rhetoric of the radical historian Howard Zinn, who claimed that Clinton had “deceived” the United States into combat. When the Bush administration subsequently invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, and Iraq in March 2003, IPA likewise highlighted the opinions of leftist ideologues who opposed those wars.

The day after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, IPA issued a press release summarizing the positions of a number of IPA-affiliated “experts,” one of whom declared that the events of 9/11 served as “a mirror to” the flawed “U.S. policy” of economic sanctions that allegedly had caused “massive civilian suffering in Iraq.”

Prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, IPA collaborated with 
Saddam Hussein's regime to organize “fact-finding” trips to Iraq for American political figures and entertainers. In September 2002, for example, the Institute sponsored a visit to that country by a delegation that included Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia, former Democratic Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota, and IPA's own Norman Solomon. Their travels and activities were tightly controlled by the Iraqi government, which exploited them for propaganda purposes.

While Rahall declared that he wanted to “give … peace a chance,” Abourezk blamed the United States and the sanctions regime (rather than Saddam Hussein) for the Iraqi people's suffering, and he asserted that an American invasion of Iraq would constitute an “unprovoked war … in violation … of basic humane values.” Norman Solomon, meanwhile, alleged that: (a) the weapons inspectors in Iraq were in fact American military spies; (b) the U.S. was “determined to inflict a horrendous war” on the people of Iraq; and (c) “the idea of pre-emptive strikes is … insane” as a matter of principle. 

Just before the Christmas season of 2002, Solomon and IPA sponsored a trip to Baghdad by Sean Penn, in hopes that the film star could, as Solomon put it, “inspire many Americans from various walks of life to explore how they can impede the momentum toward war.” When Penn, near the end of his trip, said that “the blood of Americans and Iraqis will be on our [Americans'] hands” if the U.S. were to invade Iraq, the Iraqi News Agency reported that the actor had “confirmed that Iraq is completely clear of weapons of mass destruction.”

In late 2002 and early 2003, IPA’s press office worked to build public credibility for leftist radicals who now sought to portray themselves as moderate leaders of a national peace movement. One such individual was Nancy Lessin, an AFL-CIO coordinator who, with the help of IPA's media machine, was re-branded as the head of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO). After an IPA media campaign disseminated Lessin’s name and contact information to newsrooms across the United States on January 17, 2003, she and MFSO became widely quoted anti-war spokespeople in American and forign publications alike.

Another
longtime agitator whose views were frequently cited in IPA’s war-related press releases was Leslie Cagan, whose United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) anti-war coalition counted IPA as one of its members. The Institute also quoted a number of “experts” from approximately a dozen organizations that formed the backbone of UFPJ. Several of those groups were members of the International ANSWER coalition as well.

Sean Penn made a
return trip to Iraq in late 2003, with help not only from Norman Solomon but also from the radical activist Medea Benjamin. As in his previous trip, the actor again made statements that had great propaganda value to Saddam Hussein. For instance, Penn said that while “the insurgency movement builds every day in manpower and organizational strength,” many Iraqis were telling him that “there is no freedom in occupation, nor trust in unilateral intervention.”

A notable member of IPA's 
board of directors today is the Marxist “media reform” activist Robert McChesney.

Over the years
, IPA has received funding from the Arca Foundation, the Barbra Streisand Foundation, the Caipirinha Foundation, the CarEth Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Iara Lee and George Gund III Foundation, the Lear Family Foundation, thNew World Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Foundations, the Park Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Stern Family Fund, the Stewart Mott Charitable Trust, the Threshold Foundation, the Town Creek Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund II. For a list of additional funders of IPA, click here.



 

 

 

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