People for the American Way

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People For the American Way
FoundedSeptember 4, 1980; 42 years ago (1980-09-04)[1]
FounderNorman Lear
TypeAdvocacy group
52-1366721[1]
Legal status501(c)(4) social welfare organization[1]
FocusProgressive/liberal advocacy
Location
Area served
United States
MethodMedia attention, direct-appeal campaigns
Lara Bergthold[2]
President
Svante Myrick
Affiliations
Revenue (2014)
$5,768,692[1]
Expenses (2014)$5,690,909[1]
Employees (2014)
61[1]
Websitewww.pfaw.org

People For the American Way, or PFAW (/'pfɑː/), is a progressive advocacy group in the United States.[4] Organized as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, PFAW was registered in 1981 by the television producer Norman Lear,[5] a self-described "liberal"[6] who founded the organization in 1980 to challenge the Christian right agenda of the Moral Majority.

History[edit]

PFAW was founded by the television producer Norman Lear in opposition to the publicized agenda of the Moral Majority, a prominent and influential American political organization associated with the Christian right.[7] Officially incorporated on September 4, 1980,[1] its co-founders included Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and Time Inc. chairman and CEO Andrew Heiskell.[8] PFAW began as a project of the Tides Foundation,[9] a donor-advised fund that directs money to politically liberal causes.[10]

Former presidents of PFAW include Arthur Kropp,[11] Tony Podesta[12] and Ralph Neas.[13]

Soon after its founding, PFAW launched an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization, People for the American Way Foundation, for the purpose of conducting more extensive educational and research activities for liberal causes.[14] Later, the People for the American Way Voters Alliance was launched as a political action committee.[15]

Activities[edit]

PFAW has been active in battles over judicial nominations, opposing U.S. Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Brett Kavanaugh and supporting the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.[5][16] PFAW is also active in federal elections, donating $339,874 to oppose Republican candidates in the 2014 election cycle,[17] and $351,075 to oppose Republican candidates in the 2016 election cycle.[18]

Right Wing Watch[edit]

PFAW's Right Wing Watch project is a website that catalogs statements of public figures whom they label as right-wing, including politicians, preachers, and others, with a focus on hate speech and right-wing conspiracy theories.[19][20] The web site was founded in 2007, expanding on PFAW's earlier practice of VHS recording clips from television programs such as Pat Robertson's 700 Club, for distribution to news media.[21] In 2013, evangelist and politician Gordon Klingenschmitt sent DMCA takedown notices to YouTube against Right Wing Watch's channel, based on copyright claims. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provided legal counsel to Right Wing Watch to defend their channel and posts against YouTube's actions.[22]

In 2014, HGTV withdrew from plans to produce a television series with Jason and David Benham after Right Wing Watch made an issue of their statements about homosexuality.[23][24]

In 2018, Salon.com and the Daily Telegraph credited Jared Holt, a Right Wing Watch researcher, for causing the removal of Alex Jones's InfoWars program from multiple content distribution sites, including Apple, Inc, YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify.[25][26] Afterwards, Holt said he received death threats.[27]

In June 2021, Right Wing Watch's YouTube channel, which had been operating for about 10 years, was temporarily suspended by YouTube, who said that the suspension had been an accident.[19][20] At the time, the channel had about 47,000 subscribers.[19]

Right Wing Watch has been quoted by NPR, Fortune, The Daily Beast, HuffPost, and a local Fox News affiliate.[28][29][30][31][32]

Leadership[edit]

Michael Keegan served as the organization's president for 11 years, through June 2020.[33] On June 15, 2020, Ben Jealous succeeded Keegan as president,[34][35] and Svante Myrick succeeded Keegan as president on November 14, 2022.[36] Svante Myrick abruptly resigned as mayor of Ithaca, New York, to take that position.[37] Past and present members of the group's board of directors include John Hall Buchanan, Jr., Alec Baldwin, Seth MacFarlane, Mary Frances Berry, Julian Bond, Bertis Downs IV, James Hormel, Dolores Huerta, Jane Lynch, Josh Sapan, Dennis Van Roekel, Howie Klein and Reg Weaver.[2]

Funding[edit]

Major donors to PFAW include George Soros' Open Society Institute,[38] the Miriam G. and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, the Bauman Family Foundation, and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "People for the American Way[permanent dead link]". District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Government of the District of Columbia; accessed May 7, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Board of Directors Archived 2015-03-15 at the Wayback Machine". People for the American Way. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  3. ^ "Staff Archived 2016-05-15 at the Wayback Machine". People for the American Way. Accessed on May 7, 2016.
  4. ^ Lasley, Thomas J. II (2010). Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent. SAGE. p. 212. ISBN 9781412956642. Archived from the original on 20 January 2023. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b Day, Patrick Kevin (October 7, 2011). "Norman Lear Celebrates 30 Years of People For the American Way". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  6. ^ Yingling, Jennifer (2011-10-11). "At 89, Norman Lear still pushing for the 'American Way'". TheHill. Archived from the original on 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  7. ^ Reeves, Richard (May 13, 2009). "What is the American Way of Life?". Real Clear Politics. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
    - Djupe, Paul; Olson, Laura (2014). Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics. Infobase Publishing. p. 287. ISBN 9781438130200.
  8. ^ Evans, Will (September 30, 2008). "McCain, GOP Senators Challenged On Pay Equity For Women". NPR. Archived from the original on June 3, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  9. ^ 1976–2001: 25 Years of Working Toward Positive Social Change Archived 2016-10-20 at the Wayback Machine. Tides Foundation, 2001. p. 8. Retrieved August 26, 2016. "[Timeline, 1980] ... Norman Lear and others launch a Tides project: People for the American Way".
  10. ^ "History". Tides. Archived from the original on May 4, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2015. See also, Hewat, N. Campaigning for Educational Policy Reform: An Ecological Analysis of a 'People for the American Way' Grassroots Organizing Phenomenon, doctoral dissertation, University at Albany, State University of New York, 1986.
  11. ^ "Arthur Kropp; President of People for the American Way". Los Angeles Times. June 19, 1995. Archived from the original on 2022-07-07. Retrieved 2022-07-07.
  12. ^ Miles, Sara. "Do YOU Know Tony Podesta?". Wired. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  13. ^ "People for the American Way President Ralph Neas Discusses Opposition to Ashcroft for Attorney General". CNN. January 16, 2001. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Glanz, James (March 11, 2000). "Survey Finds Support Is Strong For Teaching 2 Origin Theories". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (November 5, 1998). "The 1998 Elections: Congress – The Right; Religious Conservatives, Stung by Vote Losses, Blame G.O.P. for Focusing on Clinton Archived 2018-01-31 at the Wayback Machine". The New York Times. nytimes.com. Retrieved November 2, 2018. The article characterizes PFAW's Voters Alliance as its "new political action committee".
  16. ^ "President Trump's conservative court shift may slow down as liberal judges avoid retirement". USA Today. November 19, 2018. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  17. ^ "People For The American Way". OpenSecrets. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  18. ^ "People for the American Way Outside Spending". OpenSecrets. Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  19. ^ a b c "YouTube reinstates channel devoted to exposing conservative extremism". NBC News. Archived from the original on 2022-08-26. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  20. ^ a b Baragona, Justin (2021-06-28). "YouTube Bans and Then Unbans Right Wing Watch, a Media Watchdog Devoted to Exposing Right-Wing Conspiracies". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 2021-06-28. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  21. ^ Keegan, Michael (11 October 2016). "Right Wing Watch: 10 Years Of Fighting The Right... With Their Own Words". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Attempt to Silence the Political Speech at Right Wing Watch". Electronic Frontier Foundation. December 8, 2013. Archived from the original on December 20, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  23. ^ "HGTV Drops Benham Brothers' 'Flip It Forward' After Anti-Gay Views Are Unearthed". HuffPost. May 8, 2014. Archived from the original on December 9, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  24. ^ France, Lisa Respers (May 9, 2014). "Benham brothers lose HGTV show after 'anti-gay' remarks". CNN. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  25. ^ Marcotte, Amanda (August 8, 2018). "Meet Jared Holt, the guy who's getting Alex Jones kicked off the internet". Salon. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  26. ^ Bernal, Natasha (August 10, 2018). "The man who sparked the revolt against Infowars and Alex Jones with a single tweet". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  27. ^ Bonn, Tess (August 9, 2018). "Researcher who helped kick Infowars's Alex Jones off Spotify received death threats". The Hill. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  28. ^ Corbett, Erin (September 2, 2018). "Neo-Nazi Group Targets Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum In Racist Calls". Fortune. Archived from the original on March 5, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021. Earlier this year, the podcast sponsored robocalls supporting failed California Senate candidate, white nationalist Patrick Little, according to Right Wing Watch.
  29. ^ Sullivan, Emily (September 3, 2018). "Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum Is Latest Target Of White Supremacist Robocalls". NPR. Archived from the original on August 18, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2021. The same podcast has also been linked to robocall campaigns in Charlottesville, Va., Oregon and California, according to Right Wing Watch.
  30. ^ Kirell, Andrew (September 20, 2018). "Wayne Allyn Root, Trump's Rally Opener, Is a Conspiracy Theorist Who Thinks the Vegas Shooter Was ISIS". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on November 22, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2021. "He was murdered because he was the guy that gave all the DNC files to Julian Assange and Wikileaks," Root asserted on his radio show in June 2018, as Right Wing Watch first reported.
  31. ^ Bernstein, Leandra (September 21, 2018). "Multiple government agencies investigating employees identified in 'Deep State' video". WBFF. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2021. Jared Holt, a research associate at Right Wing Watch, said O'Keefe's focus on a government conspiracy run by Democratic Socialists of America was "laughable."
  32. ^ Mathias, Christopher (September 12, 2018). "Republican Rep. Steve King Retweets A Known White Supremacist On Twitter... Again". HuffPost. Archived from the original on March 20, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2021. As documented by the site Right Wing Watch, Lokteff is an out-and-proud white nationalist who has talked openly of wanting a white ethnostate.
  33. ^ Kurtz, Josh (June 8, 2020). "A New Gig for Ben Jealous Archived 2020-07-01 at the Wayback Machine". Maryland Matters. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  34. ^ Marino, Pam (June 2, 2020). "Monterey County native Ben Jealous tapped to lead nonprofit fighting right-wing extremism Archived 2020-06-03 at the Wayback Machine". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  35. ^ Ford, William J. (June 24, 2020). "Ben Jealous: ‘Racism is Tragic, Racism is Alive’ Archived 2020-06-27 at the Wayback Machine". The Washington Informer. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2023-01-03. Retrieved 2023-01-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ Harris, Lee (2023-01-23). "Wall Street's Big Bet on Rewiring America". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  38. ^ "Open Society Foundations (OSF)". www.influencewatch.org. Archived from the original on 2020-06-04. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  39. ^ Evans, Will (30 September 2008). "McCain, GOP Senators Challenged On Pay Equity For Women". NPR.org. Archived from the original on 2020-06-03. Retrieved 2020-06-03.

External links[edit]