A liberal think tank has just pushed out an employee who criticized Google. That’s worrying.

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
August 30, 2017

The New York Times reports that the liberal-leaning think tank New America has pushed out scholar Barry Lynn and his team on the foundation’s Open Markets initiative.

This happened shortly after Lynn published a piece for New America praising the European Union for fining Google. Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Alphabet (the holding company that controls Google), is a major funder of New America and had sent an email to New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter expressing unhappiness about Lynn’s piece.

Slaughter and Schmidt both say that the decision had nothing to do with Schmidt’s displeasure. However, the Times reports that, in an email to Lynn, Slaughter accused the scholar of “imperiling the institution as a whole.” The Times also said that in an email ahead of a 2016 conference organized by Open Markets to focus on concerns about tech industry monopolies, Slaughter had asked Lynn to “just THINK about how you are imperiling funding for others.”

There may be another side to this story that has yet to come out. However, the facts as initially presented in the Times article suggest that this episode is yet another example of a growing problem. As Washington Post contributor Daniel Drezner discusses in his new book, “The Ideas Industry,” the key sources of policy ideas are increasingly beholden to big funders, who very often have their own financial interests.

Read the full piece at The Washington Post