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Letter to the editor in the February 23, 1998 issue of The Nation

Lexington, Ky

James Ridgeway has discovered one of the Republican right's most effective methods of influencing American thought: Its organizations, like the Heritage Foundation, are in constant contact with the hundreds of daily newspapers and talk-radio shows that reach low and middle income people ("Heritage on the Hill," Dec. 22) Liberal groups seem content to fax press releases to Mother Jones and Utne Reader.

As a reporter for mid-sized newspapers across the South I've tried to balance my news stories with quotes and ideas from the national Organization for Women, the N.A.A.C.P., Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International and labor unions. A woman at NOW told me that to conserve its resources, it deals only with media powerhouses like The New York Times.

Heritage Foundation analysts return my calls within thirty minutes, talk for as long as I want, fax me their data-filled reports and would probably drive all the way from Washington to bring me a cup of coffee. Guess those philosophies dominate the newspapers most Americans read.



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