If they say so, it must be true

From Pandagon comes a link to some news about NGO Watch, a new project of the American Enterprise Institute and Federalist Society. According to the project’s site (currently complete with circa-1995 black and yellow “under construction” banners),

Recent years have seen an unprecedented growth in the power and influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While it is true that many NGOs remain true to grassroots authenticity conjured up in images of protest and sacrifice, it is also true that non-governmental organizations are now serious business. NGO officials and their activities are widely cited in the media and relied upon in congressional testimony; corporations regularly consult with NGOs prior to major investments. Many groups have strayed beyond their original mandates and assumed quasi-governmental roles. Increasingly, non-governmental organizations are not just accredited observers at international organizations, they are full-fledged decision-makers.

The intro page continues on to discuss the need “to bring clarity and accountability to the burgeoning world of NGOs.” NGO Watch, they tell us, “will, without prejudice, compile factual data about non-governmental organizations.” Hot damn! That’s great news, I thought, imagining NGO Watch shining the bright light of truth on the inner workings of various nefarious and powerful organizations. With public accountability, decisions will no longer be made by the powerful princes of industry but by the people! Surey, this is the Promise of the Internet, I thought.

However, scrolling through their list of NGOs of concern, I couldn’t help but notice that a number of prominent NGOs were missing. Project for a New American Century, for instance, was nowhere to be found; the American Conservative Union was missing, but the American Civil Liberties Union is included; in the interest of full disclosure, I thought for sure AEI and the Federalist Society would have an entry, but perhaps that information wasn’t available at press time. To be fair, the National Rifle Association is in fact on the list (that’s what you get for teaming up with librarians on privacy issues, perhaps), shortly following such nasty liberals as Doctors Without Borders. They probably got listed because their international name is in French: Medecins Sans Frontieres. Socialist troublemakers, those French volunteer physicians. Under the entry for NOW, the site links (not once but twice), to World Magazine, dedicated to presenting the news from “a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.” Perhaps needless to say, World Magazine doesn’t have much good to say about NOW.

At this point, I was getting a little concerned. Where are all the real movers and shakers? I was promised a “without prejudice” accounting, but this looks like a rather political project.

Glancing at the categorical list of organizations, my fears were confirmed. The list includes civil and human rights, environmental, women’s, and labor organizations. I couldn’t help but notice that categories like “Agribusiness,” “Energy,” and “Subsidized Monopoly” were absent.

I’ve sent an email to AEI’s trustees, thinking certainly they’ve just forgotten those categories. After all, the American freakin’ Enterprise Institute is strictly non-partisan, right?


Okay, I give up. These people are buffoons. Frothy, hypocritical buffoons.