According to a recent report by the Associated Press, the Ploughshares Fund, a supposedly nonpartisan arms-control-advocacy organization, gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to various think tanks, journalists, lobbying groups (including the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” J Street), and media outlets as part of its efforts to promote the nuclear agreement with Iran. Lee Smith comments:
In [Ploughsares’] 2015 annual report, board chairwoman Mary Lloyd Estrin wrote of “the absolutely critical role that civil society played in tipping the scales toward this extraordinary policy victory [i.e., the Iran deal].” It’s perhaps not surprising that Ploughshares confuses the people and institutions it supports with the public sphere, but in this case at least precisely the opposite is the case.
Civil society is the assortment of institutions, like the media, the academy, non-governmental organizations, etc. that exist apart from and frequently in opposition to the government in order to express the will of the citizens of a free society. Its purpose is to inform those citizens so they are better equipped to make decisions about their lives and the life of the nation and thereby hold their government accountable.
But Ploughshares conscripted journalists, researchers, and NGOs to do the opposite. . . . What Ploughshares did was to pollute the public sphere with self-validated and self-validating noise for the purpose of deceiving the public on behalf of the state. . . .
[While] the White House threatened to punish Democrats tempted to challenge the deal, Ploughshares helped lawmakers feel better about caving in. They paid for think tanks to produce incomplete or erroneous factsheets, they paid for journalists to publish it, and they paid for lobbyists to carry it to Capitol Hill.