Center for Media and Democracy
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) is a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. CMD describes itself as an investigative research and reporting group and as a national, non-profit watchdog organization. CMD publishes PR Watch, SourceWatch, BanksterUSA, and ALECexposed.org.
In a report released on April 6, 2006, CMD listed detailed information on 77 television stations that it said had broadcast video news releases (VNRs) in the prior 10 months. CMD said that in each case the television station actively disguised the VNR content to make it appear to be its own reporting, and that more than one-third of the cases, the stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety. In August 2006, the Federal Communications Commission mailed formal letters to the owners of the 77 television stations, asking for information regarding agreements between the stations and the creators of VNRs, and asking whether there was any "consideration" given to the stations in return for airing the material.
CMD has been a staunch critic of donor-advised funds, referring to such donations as "dark money."
CMD describes itself as a "non-profit investigative reporting group" with a "focus on exposing corporate spin and government propaganda," as a "national, independent, non-partisan public interest newsgroup," as an "investigative research and reporting group," and as a "national, non-profit watchdog organization."
The New York Times refers to CMD as a watchdog organization. The Washington Post has described CMD as "a liberal organization that tracks the use of public relations by corporations and politicians." CMD has been referred to as a "liberal advocacy group" by The Des Moines Register, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the La Crosse Tribune of La Crosse, Wisconsin. A May 2012 article in Isthmus, an alternative weekly newspaper based in Madison, Wisconsin, referred to CMD as an "activist group". A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel political columnist referred to CMD as "left-wing" and "liberal." CMD was referred to as "uber-liberal" by the conservative news website Watchdog.org.
Online media products
PR Watch is CMD's investigative reporting website. Its' news stories focus on corporations, lobbying, and public relations, as well as economic, environmental, and transparency issues. Author and editor Sheldon Rampton was editor of PR Watch.
CMD hosts the ALEC Exposed website, a wiki, which focuses on the American Legislative Exchange Council. The "ALEC Exposed" project was featured in the 2012 Bill Moyers documentary film, United States of ALEC.
CMD states that it accepts donations from "individuals and philanthropic foundations through gifts and grants", but "no funding from for-profit corporations or grants from government agencies." It maintains a partial list of supporters on its website.
In an opinion for Fox News, conservative media critic Dan Gainor wrote that BanksterUSA received $200,000 from the Open Society Institute (OSI), a grantmaking network founded by George Soros, aimed to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. CMD stated that it received a grant from OSI "to continue work on national security issues".
Fox News reported that in 2011 CMD received $864,740 in donations. $520,000, or 60% of 2011's total revenue, was received from the Schwab Charitable Fund, a donor advised fund which preserves the anonymity of donors by not disclosing individual donor names.
According to the conservative news website Watchdog.org, the Tides Foundation, a foundation known to donate primarily to liberal organizations, reported giving CMD $160,000 in 2011, but that money did not appear on CMD's tax return. When asked why CMD heavily criticizes conservative organizations for not revealing their donors while refusing to name all of CMD's funders, CMD's executive director Lisa Graves said, “The question of conservative funders versus liberal funders, I think, is a matter of false equivalency.” 
In 2012 CMD received a Izzy Award, given by the Roy H. Park School of Communications of Ithaca College for special achievement in independent media, and a Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award, given by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, for CMD's "ALEC Exposed" project.
CMD president Lisa Graves won a bronze award from the Milwaukee Press Club for Best Investigative Stories or Series of 2011 for the CMD piece "Group Called 'Citizens for a Strong America' Operates out of a UPS Mail Drop but Runs Expensive Ads".
- Organizational Profile – National Center for Charitable Statistics (Urban Institute)
- "Exposing ALEC: The Center for Media and Democracy goes after the right-wing powerhouse". Isthmus. 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
- http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/leah-vukmir-agrees-to-turn-over-alec-documents-to-settle/article_3029824a-e97f-5a2f-bbf1-c013e32cda3f.html Wisconsin State Journal
- http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/ameren-fends-off-activist-shareholder-proposals/article_b299b042-b43a-52d9-8779-cbadbbc897c8.html St Louis Post Dispatch
- http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2012/04/06/progress-iowa-calls-on-state-lawmakers-to-cut-ties-with-conservative-group-alec Desmoines Register
- http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2012/04/06/progress-iowa-calls-on-state-lawmakers-to-cut-ties-with-conservative-group-alec NewJersey.com
- http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/walker-backtracks-from-striking-truth-from-uw-system-charter/article_4c82a628-50b3-5df2-aa49-6e230cd1822a.html La Crosse Tribune
- Mayer, Jane (2013-11-14). "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Exposing ALEC: How Conservative-Backed State Laws Are All Connected". The Atlantic. 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
- Farsetta, Diane (March 16, 2006). "Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed". PR Watch. Center for Media and Democracy. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- "TV Stations' 'Fake News' Scrutinized". CBS News. Associated Press. August 16, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-17.
- Roland, Neil (May 25, 2006). "U.S. FCC Probes Local TV Stations Airing Ads as News (Update3)". Bloomberg News. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- Shields, Todd (August 21, 2006). "Fake out: FCC warns stations about airing video news releases". Mediaweek.
- Conniff, Ruth (November 2014). "Pulling Together, Saying Goodbye" 78 (11). The Progressive. p. 5.
- "About Us". Center for Media and Democracy. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- "Center for Media and Democracy About". Center for Media and Democracy. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- Ivry, Sara (April 16, 2007). "Now on YouTube: The Latest News From Al Jazeera, in English". New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- O'Harrow, Robert (2008-05-31). "McCain Campaign Calls; a Nonprofit Steps In". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-07-17.
- "Liberal organization links Wisconsin bills to Koch-funded group". Milwaukee Journal. 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
- Richards, Tori (2014-01-02). "Shadowy funders build liberal war chest to unseat governor". Watchdog.org. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- "Center for Media and Democracy". Change.org. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "ALEC Exposed". alecexposed.org.
- Moyers, Bill (September 28, 2012). "United States of ALEC". Moyers & Company (Public Affairs Television). Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- "The United States of ALEC: Bill Moyers on the Secretive Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws". Democracy Now!. September 27, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- "SourceWatch:Purpose". CMD. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
- "Left, Obama Escalate War on Banks Into Dangerous Territory". Fox News. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Richards, Tori (December 4, 2013). "Liberal ‘media’ group gets $520G dark money donation for war on right". Fox News. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Vogel, Kenneth (2014-06-23). "Inside the vast liberal conspiracy". Politico. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "Spring 2014 Democracy Alliance Investment Recommendations". Democracy Alliance. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- Sedlis, Julie (July 25, 2012). "The Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation Win September Sidney for "ALEC:Exposed," A Look Into the Secretive Collaboration Between Corporations and Politicians on State Legislation". The Sidney Hillman Foundation. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "2012 Izzy Awards". WSKG. April 10, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- Michael, Catherine (March 27, 2012). "Izzy Award winners: Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Center for Media and Democracy". ALA Connect. American Library Association. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- Esch, Madeleine (Spring 2012). "Center for Media and Democracy Selected for 2012 PF&R Award". Cultural and Critical Studies (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication). Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- "2011 Excellence in Journalism Awardees". Milwaukee Press Club. Retrieved 25 July 2012.