“Together, we will have a greater reach, a bigger impact, and a sturdier financial base,” said Ruth Conniff, the editor-in-chief of The Progressive.

“This week, David Koch's Americans for Prosperity group helped defeat two public education advocates in an important, local Kenosha County School Board race. Not since the age of the Robber Barons have we seen such an assault by the monied interests on the institutions of our democracy,” said Lisa Graves, who became Executive Director of CMD in 2009, and will now be President and Publisher of The Progressive, Inc. “By uniting with The Progressive, we are creating a robust investigative and reporting group that will shine a bright light on deep-pocketed forces undermining our democracy and make this type of information easily discoverable on the Internet by average citizens.”

"Even as American journalism faces unprecedented challenges, there has never been a greater need for reporting and analysis of all the ways private interests threaten the public good,” said Conniff. “We will break news, and we will hold the corporate powers accountable.”

The boards of both organizations passed a unanimous resolution approving the merger in March. In the combined institution, Lisa Graves, will become President and Publisher of The Progressive Inc. Ruth Conniff will be Editor-in-Chief of The Progressive and a Vice-President, and Mary Bottari, who has served as Deputy Director of CMD, will be a Vice-President and the Editor of special projects and investigations. Matt Rothschild, longtime publisher and editor of The Progressive, will be part of the merged organization’s leadership team and remain Senior Editor.

The two media groups have complementary media platforms and financial models. CMD has a large online presence as the publisher of PRwatch.org, ALECexposed.org, and its wiki, Sourcewatch.org, with nearly 150,000 people on its list of subscribers, fans, and followers. The Progressive is a print magazine with more than 40,000 paid subscribers and thousands of devoted small donors. Together, their combined email and social media lists total nearly a quarter million people and their collective web traffic amounts to more than 10 million page views per year. CMD’s original research and reporting are often cited by other new outlets, and both CMD and The Progressive are often sought out for their analysis of national and state policy issues.

The Progressive, a monthly magazine that has been in print for 105 years, was founded by Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette in 1909 to fight corporate power, champion women’s suffrage, campaign for democracy, and oppose war. It has published such social critics as Jane Addams, James Baldwin, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, John Kenneth Galbraith, Helen Keller, Molly Ivins, June Jordan, Martin Luther King, and Howard Zinn. Political figures such as George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin, and Paul Wellstone have also appeared in the magazine over the years. Since 2011, when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker launched his "divide and conquer" strategy, attacking teachers and other public employees, The Progressive has been reporting on the dangers to civil society posed by Walker and the national, coordinated rightwing assault on the states.

The Center for Media and Democracy was founded in 1993 by author and activist John Stauber and is an investigative and reporting group best known for its award-winning investigation of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALECexposed.org), its dogging of the Koch Brothers, and its debunking of the public relations industry and tactics. Its investigations have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker and the Guardian.

Conniff began her career at The Progressive in 1991 and previously served as its Washington correspondent and as its Political Editor. She is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and on other news shows.

Graves previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Justice, then helped lead the administration of the federal judiciary, and then was chosen to be the Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She was also the ACLU’s senior lobbyist on national security and civil liberties in George W. Bush’s second term.

PRESS RELEASE: Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CONTACT: Lisa Graves and Ruth Conniff, (608) 257-4626



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The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

The reach of this story extends from the lowliest working stiff to the highest court in the land.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project