People for the American Way

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
People For the American Way
People For the American Way logo 2007.png
Founded 1981
Founder Norman Lear
Type Advocacy group
Focus Progressive advocacy
Area served
United States
Method Media attention, direct-appeal campaigns
Key people
Norman Lear
Affiliations People for the American Way Foundation

People For the American Way (PFAW) is a progressive advocacy group in the United States.[1] Organized as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, PFAW was founded in 1981 by television producer Norman Lear.[2] Lear founded the organization in order to challenge the agenda of the Moral Majority, a prominent American political organization associated with the Christian right.


PFAW was founded by television producer Norman Lear in 1981 in opposition to the agenda of the Moral Majority.[3][4] Co-founders included Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and Time Inc. chairman and CEO Andrew Heiskell.[5] PFAW began as a project of the Tides Foundation, a donor-advised fund that directs money to politically liberal causes.[6]

The former presidents of PFAW include Tony Podesta[7] and Ralph Neas.[8]

Soon after its founding, People For the American Way 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 left-wing causes.[9] Later, the People For the American Way Voter Alliance was launched as a political action committee.


PFAW monitors what it characterizes as "right-wing" activities. Toward this end, the organization sponsors a website called Right Wing Watch. Right Wing Watch showcases video footage of various conservative pundits and social commentators.[10] In 2014, Jason and David Benham lost the opportunity to host their own HGTV television show after Right Wing Watch labeled the brothers as "anti-gay, anti-choice extremists." In response, David Benham said: "We love all people. I love homosexuals. I love Islam, Muslims, and my brother and I would never discriminate. Never have we -- never would we." The slated show, "Flip It Forward," would have shown the brothers helping families purchase homes they otherwise could not afford.[11][12]

PFAW has been active in battles over judicial nominations, opposing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork and supporting the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor.[2]

PFAW is active in federal elections, donating $339,874 to oppose Republican candidates in the 2014 election cycle.[13]


Michael Keegan is the organization's president. 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.[14]


Major donors to PFW include George Soros' Open Society Institute, the Miriam G. and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.[5]


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent, Thomas C. Hunt & James C. Carper & Thomas J. Lasley II & C. Daniel Raisch.(link) 2010, Sage Publications. ISBN 9781412956642
  2. ^ a b Day, Patrick Kevin (October 7, 2011). "Norman Lear Celebrates 30 Years of People For the American Way". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Reeves, Richard (May 13, 2009). "What is the American Way of Life?". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Djupe, Paul; Olson, Laura (2014). Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics. Infobase Publishing. p. 287. ISBN 9781438130200. 
  5. ^ a b Evans, Will (September 30, 2008). "McCain, GOP Senators Challenged On Pay Equity For Women". NPR. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "History". Tides. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Miles, Sara. "Do YOU Know Tony Podesta?". Wired. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "People for the American Way President Ralph Neas Discusses Opposition to Ashcroft for Attorney General". CNN. January 16, 2001. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Glanz, James (March 11, 2000). "Survey Finds Support Is Strong For Teaching 2 Origin Theories". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Gryboski, Michael (November 21, 2013). "'Right Wing Watch' YouTube Account Again Suspended Due to Fmr. Navy Chaplain's Complaint". Christian Post. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Pappas, Alex (May 12, 2014). "Meet The Liberal Network That Orchestrated The Hit On The Benham Brothers". Daily Caller. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Respers France, Lisa (May 19, 2014). "Benham brothers lose HGTV show after 'anti-gay' remarks". CNN. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "People For The American Way". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Board of Directors". People For The American Way. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 

External links[edit]