February 24, 2012

Heritage Foundation Analyst Opposed Defense Cuts Without Disclosure of Defense Industry Funding

Heritage Foundation Analyst Opposed Defense Cuts Without Disclosure of Defense Industry Funding

One think tank defense analyst has been repeatedly either quoted in the media or given space to write op-eds blasting defense cuts and any other significant reductions of spending on the military: the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano. Here’s just some of the times Carafano was given space to oppose defense cuts in just the past year:

– The Washington Times: “Washington is about to hand America’s enemies – at least the ones who want to do us harm – a gift,” intoned Carafano in an op-ed in the Washington Times. [2/17/2012]

– Fox Business News: “Who’s going to defend us? Where’s our security going to come from?!” Carafano asked about withdrawing military bases from Europe. [5/31/2011]

– New York Post: “The administration is going to gut the Army and Marine Corps,” complained Carafano in an op-ed.  [1/5/2012]

– The Washington Examiner: “Should the Pentagon be forced to implement further budget reductions, any occupant of the White House confronted with the need to use the military to protect America’s interests will be in for a rude awakening,” fear mongered Carafano in a column. [10/2012]

But what all of these press outlets fail to disclose about Carafano as he denounces reductions in defense spending is that the organization he belongs to is a major recipient of defense industry dollars.

The Heritage Foundation’s 2010 Annual Report includes several pages thanking its major donors. The Boeing Company is listed third from the top under “Premier Associates,” meaning it donated at least $50,000. Northrop Grumman is also listed as a Premier Associate. Lockheed Martin is listed under “Executive Associates,” meaning it donated at least $25,000 to the think tank that year.

This doesn’t mean that Carafano doesn’t believe what he says, or that all of the research he produces is not credible. But it is important information that should be disclosed when Carafano is cited as widely as he is in the press. Yet none of the media sources that regularly quote him — such as the Boston Globe, which recently cited him about US-Iran policy — disclose that he works at a think tank openly funded by the defense industry.

Remarkably, the Washington Examiner, which most prominently features Carafano’s columns, doesn’t disclose the funding of the think tank he works at but did note that the Economic Policy Institute is partly funded by labor unions in an op-ed they wrote recently. The paper appears to be following a double standard — one that benefits the defense industry.