Launched in the Spring of 2010 by independent journalist Allen McDuffee, Think Tanked is a blog specializing in original reporting and analysis on the influence of think tanks in the politics of Washington and beyond.
Why bother with think tanks?
A recent editorial in the UK's News & Star argued that
Think tanks, in case anyone was wondering, are bodies of academics who answer the questions nobody asked. Governments listen to them – in preference to thinking for themselves.
Perhaps think tanks work differently in the UK, but the role of think tanks in the development of policy and political ideas, while under-reported and understudied, is highly influential.
Former Bush speechwriter David Frum was fired from asked to be an intern at denied a pony (only two people know why he departed) from the conservative American Enterprise Institute for, in part, showing how the recently-passed health care bill presented by Obama was straight out of the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s. The case for the invasion of Iraq was planned by governmental and private sector neo-conservatives at the Project for the New American Century well before September 11, 2001. The State Department’s motto of “Smart Power” was developed at the Center for Strategic and International Studies over the course of a few years. And Michele Flournoy and Kurt Campbell, the co-founders of the relatively new Center for a New American Security, are now senior Obama administration appointees at the Pentagon and the State Department.
Just these few examples suggest that it might be more accurate to say that somebody is asking the questions think tanks answer, but who and why? Just as important: which think tanks are choosing to answer them? And what are the relationships between governments and think tanks?
These are just a few of the guiding questions for Think Tanked.
What can you expect to find here?
Several times a day, you'll find: original reporting from think tank briefings; reports on the development of new ideas; interviews with think tank scholars; updates and summaries of the releases of think tank reports, briefs, articles and books; reviews of books published by think tanks scholars; personnel changes; daily round-ups of think tank output; video from briefings, and a whole lot more.
About Allen McDuffee
Allen McDuffee is a New York-based politics writer. Part reporter, part investigative journalist, part blogger, Allen has written for The Nation, Mother Jones, AlterNet, In These Times, Truthdig, Raw Story and the New York Observer, among others. Allen's articles are often covered in the blogosphere, including noted blogs such as The Daily Kos and The Huffington Post. In 2008, he launched his blog governmentality.
Allen has recently been awarded funding from The Nation’s Investigative Journalism Fund and is a two-time fellow at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He is currently working on a book project, No Child Left Unrecruited, about recruiting America’s youth for military service.
For more than seven years, Allen worked at Washington, DC think tanks and private political consulting firms. He has also spent time in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine for work and for pleasure.