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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/25/21

The Leadership Institute -- Training Operation for Right-Wingers

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We're familiar with Fox, the TV propaganda arm of the Trump administration, remaining a far right-wing outlet under Rupert Murdoch and his mission of using media to push an arch-conservative agenda.

And we're becoming aware of other radical-right efforts to use media to indoctrinate people. There's the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group seeking to buy up more local TV stations to deceive and lie from, and One America News and Newsmax TV.

As the headline of a recent article in The New York Times declared: "Pro-Trump Media Keeps the Disinformation Flowing."

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Much has to be done about this radical-right drive to destroy the ideal of media being an independent monitor, a watchdog taking on power--not a partisan handmaiden.

Use of anti-trust regulations and implementation of Federal Communication Commission broadcast rules are on the top of the list.

But largely flying under the radar has been the training operation for right-wingers to be taught how to work the media, infiltrate government, and otherwise promote a right-wing agenda in the United States and in recent years extending itself through the world especially to Europe.

It's called The Leadership Institute and since it was set up in 1979 "has trained," according to its website, "more than 200,000 conservative activists, leaders and students."


One proud graduate of The Leadership Institute is Mitch McConnell, minority leader of the U.S. Senate, who on its website, below his photo, declares: "Thanks to you (Morton) and everyone who has served on your staff. There are countless conservatives making a difference in public policy across the country. As one of your earliest students, I know firsthand what a wonderful foundation the Leadership Institute's education provides for someone involved in public service."


The "Morton" he is referring to is Morton C. Blackwell, who founded The Leadership Institute, and remains its president and runs it.

Another graduate is now former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

As The Leadership Institute says on a page about its "Mission" on its website: "The Leadership Institute's mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process.

"Institute programs prepare thousands of conservatives each year," it says. And from it, "Conservatives learn how to - Succeed in the competitive field of broadcast media, - Run successfully for elected office - Communicate a conservative message using the media - Formulate policy as elected officials or key staff members. The Leadership Institute is the center of conservative activist training. No other organization provides more training to conservative activists each year."

Describing under "Headquarters" The Leadership Institute's "facility" in Arlington, Virginia, the website says it includes "a training center, professional multimedia studies, dormitories."

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Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury and host of the nationally syndicated TV program Enviro Close-Up (www.envirovideo.com)

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