Center for Media and Democracy

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The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) is intended to improve the quality of public discourse by "exposing corporate spin and government propaganda and by engaging the public in collaborative, fair and accurate reporting." It was founded by John Stauber in 1993, and is funded by foundations and individuals; it does not accept corporate or government money. Many of its critics have a different ideology, which needs to be considered in evaluating their comment. Some of CMD's recent reporting has been of spin on the left, although more tends to be of the right.

Its projects include:[1]

  • SourceWatch, an Internet-based "open content" wiki of people, groups and issues shaping the public agenda. SourceWatch is the home for a growing number of collaborative partnerships currently including portals on Global Corporations; Front Groups; Climate Change and COP15 and interlocked issues of Coal and Nuclear power; Election Protection in the U.S.; and, the Tobacco Industry.
  • Original Investigations including CMD's historic 2006 exposure of widespread FakeTV News.
  • PR Watch quarterly, which investigates and exposes how the public relations industry manipulates public information, perceptions and opinion on behalf of special interests.
  • Spin of the Day, a daily website daily reporting on public relations, propaganda and media spin.
  • Blogs, which offer original CMD reporting and analysis.
  • CMD's Resource Center, through our staffed office which answers inquiries from journalists and other members of the public

Criticism, a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CFF), calls CMD "a counterculture public relations effort disguised as an independent media organization. CMD isn’t really a center it would be more accurate to call it a partnership, since it is essentially a two-person operation. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber operate, as do most self-anointed progressive watchdogs, from the presumption that any communication issued from a corporate headquarters must be viewed with a jaundiced eye."[2] CFF, however, while a 501(c)(3) group, does not list its "over 100" corporate contributors,[3] and describes its mission as dealing with "activists propose curtailing consumer freedom."

Recent reporting

Stauber was quoted, in the Huffington Post, as saying that previously antiwar organizations, such as the Center for American Progress and, were now pressuring liberal groups to support the Obama Administration in its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. [4]


  1. About Us, Center for Media and Democracy
  2. Center for Media and Democracy,
  3. About Us, Center for Consumer Freedom
  4. Jeremy Scahill (9 April 2009), "Rahm Emanuel's Think Tankers Enforce 'Message Discipline' Among 'Liberals'", Huffington Post