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“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